The Moroccan authorities have announced the new draft law of the Council of Government that aims to boost procedures to control purchases and sales through e-commerce platforms and prevent fraud and manipulation operations monitored by the customs administration.
The draft law provides for the application of the Customs and Indirect Taxes Code to legalise this type of operations through international e-commerce platforms and thus avoid the emergence of an unregulated market. This measure comes after investigations by the Customs Administration uncovered illegal practices in the number of transactions.
Speaking at the plenary session of the Chamber of Councillors, the Minister Delegate of the Ministry of Economy and Finance, Fouzi Lekjaa, considered that the current imports of goods via e-commerce were benefiting from the customs facilities usually granted to low-value goods.
Lekjaa pointed out that these operations are based on fraud in the value of the goods declared and therefore legislation must be pushed through to adapt to the new reality of internet shopping. "This situation constitutes unfair competition for local industry and regular trade, a danger to consumer health and a waste of state revenue," the minister said, referring to tax justice and the protection of local trade and industry.
The Customs Administration has pointed out that this situation has led to the emergence of an unstructured market that is activated by the resale of goods purchased through international e-commerce sites. In what the Moroccan government has described as 'cheating', this is done by manipulating invoices or splitting them among several beneficiaries in order to evade customs exemption and avoid the control of consumer protection rules.
However, this is not the first measure Morocco has taken in this direction. The government has already approved the imposition of customs duties on all electronic purchases made from international platforms, regardless of the amount involved. This measure, approved this month, will come into force on 1 July and, together with the new draft law, is expected to guarantee fiscal security for all purchases made via electronic platforms.
This new shopping trend has been increasing in recent years. According to official statistics, the number of parcels bound for Morocco increased between 2018 and 2021, from 2.8 million to more than 6 million, with a value of more than two billion dirhams.
Lerbi Belghiti Alaoui, manager of Jumia-Morocco, the leading e-commerce platform in the Middle East and North Africa, stressed that the use of new technologies is constantly increasing due to Moroccan consumers' demand for new digital experiences that are characterised by speed and flexibility.