Moroccan government accused of 'evading' parliament amid fuel crisis
As fuel prices reach unprecedented levels in Morocco, the government led by Prime Minister Aziz Akhannouch has postponed a planned parliament session to discuss the crisis, in turn setting off accusations of "evasion" by opposition parties.
Following a request by the opposition parties, the Moroccan parliament was set to host on Monday the Minister of Energy Transition and Sustainable Development, Leila Benali, to respond to representatives' inquiries on the current fuel price hikes that have swept the kingdom.
However, Benali postponed the session indefinitely.
"The government is evading communication and accountability from the parliament on issues that concern citizens, foremost of which is the hike of prices, particularly fuel," Mustafa Ibrahimi, a member of the Parliamentary Group of the Justice and Development Party (PJD), said following the announcement.
Since February, fuel prices have gradually increased, reaching this week to MAD 14.30 ($1.48) for one litre of diesel and MAD 14.16 ($1.46) for gasoline.
Last week, Mustapha Baitass, the government's spokesperson, said that "[fuel prices] are rising at the international level and the government has stepped in to keep pace with [public transport] workers."
Putin's invasion of Ukraine led to a significant reduction of oil exports from Moscow and Kyiv, causing an international energy crisis amid ever-expanding Western sanctions against Russia and disruptions on traditional supply agreements.
While the Moroccan government refuses so far to cap fuel prices, it nevertheless had agreed to grant financial support for public transport workers after they staged a week-long national strike that threatened to further push the prices of public transports tickets higher.
Public transport workers now benefit from a monthly subsidy, ranging from MAD 1,800 ($184) to MAD 7,000 ($719), depending on the type of vehicle they are driving. Gas stations have also started lobbying to receive similar support.
The price hike is spawning a growing backlash against Morocco's Prime Minister Aziz Akhannouch, who owns one of the biggest fuel distribution companies in Morocco, "Afriquia Gaz."