For postal services, the Secretariat of State's objective is to offer citizens in all parts of Morocco high-quality service at the lowest price. It is planning major reforms in the sector in order to increase BAM's competitiveness and efficiency, gradually liberalize the sector, and enable postal financial services to more effectively mobilize small savings.
Postal sector strategy
There is enormous market potential for superior-quality postal services. Direct marketing, which is not highly developed but which is starting to grow in Morocco, will depend strongly on a reliable postal system covering all parts of the country and reaching all citizens. The mail generated by direct marketing is the fastest growing segment of the postal industry in most countries. Parcel delivery is also a fast-developing line of business; the growth of e-commerce is fuelling a boom in mail orders, creating strong opportunities for parcel delivery services.
To capitalize on the potential of the Moroccan postal market, the Secretariat of State has launched a study to determine the key elements of a national postal policy, with special attention to:
Clear definition of the public postal service's obligationsscope, cost, implementation methods, financing mechanisms;
Identification of the measures required to enable BAM to adapt its internal structure in order to prepare for competition and possible private investment.
Based on the results of this study, a new Postal Act and other appropriate legal provisions may prove necessary.
Postal business strategy
BAM, the main postal operator, will continue modernizing its services and improving its operational performance. Having developed a comprehensive, forward-looking strategy, efforts are now focussed on establishing a business strategy and an investment plan in order to transform traditional administrative structures into a modern business organization.
With its new structures and new systems in place, BAM should be equipped to implement its action plan and improve its operating methods so as to adapt its management to the imperatives of an increasingly competitive environment. A study now under way will make appropriate recommendations in this regard.
Another project will deal with the best approach for delivering high quality service to rural and underprivileged areas in the most effective manner. Innovative models such as franchising systems and mobile postal units will be carefully analyzed and pilot projects will be launched.
Postal financial services strategy
To complement BAM's restructuring project, which is now in progress and which includes a component on the development, modernization and diversification of financial products and services, a specific study on the national savings bank (CEN) and the postal cheque centres (CCPs) will be conducted.
This study will touch on all aspects of financial services, including:
Strategic study of savings collection and development;
Strategic study on investing the collected funds;
Study of the most appropriate institutional framework for the development of these services; a number of options will be studied, including the creation of a postal bank;
Study of the impact that independent management of the funds would have on institutions that now have CEN and CCP deposits.
Given the implications of the study results for existing institutions, particularly when it comes to the use of deposits, this study will be conducted jointly by all the stakeholders involved, including the Ministry of the Economy, Finance and Tourism; the Secretariat of State for Postal and Information and Communication Technology; and BAM.
Information technology is vital in modern society and must therefore be considered a strategic sector that makes a significant contribution to economic and social development. The Secretariat of State's priority is to promote IT applications in (i) education and training; (ii) government administration, through implementation of the "on-line government" initiative; (iii) the upgrading of businesses; (iv) culture; (v) closing the digital divide; (vi) supporting decentralization and land-use planning.
Adoption of legal and regulatory framework
Building an information society, the main goal of any telecom development policy, requires an appropriate legal and regulatory environment which creates confidence and provides a framework for the use of information technology, and which is capable of adapting to fast-paced technological change. The Secretariat of State's action programme in this area consists in improving and adapting legal and regulatory texts related to:
- The protection of privacy, by instituting disclosure and authorization procedures for the creation and use of personal files, and an entitlement for citizens to access their files and make corrections;
- The confidentiality and security of electronic communications and transactions;
- The evidentiary weight of electronically transmitted data and electronic signatures;
- Consumer protection;
- Adaptation of the tax system and customs code to e-commerce.
The development of advanced information exchange systems and the networking of databases and information systems necessitates the standardization of data and protocols, in accordance with international standards.
The availability of technical standards and standardized data would enable businesses and administrations to improve their organization, their information systems and their databases, and facilitate the introduction of electronic data exchange mechanisms.
Before embarking on the standardization process, the government is conducting a study in order to establish a standardization body, which will conduct the standardization process (establish standards), co-ordinate the standardization of information by administrations and professional organizations, develop standardized databases containing public or sectoral information, and define the encoding and the formats for the exchange of electronic data.
The government will use IT as an instrument to modernize Morocco's administration. The objective is to promote information access and exchange between the administration, citizens and businesses through on line processes.
Efforts in this area will be directed toward:
- Integrating common services and applications;
- Realizing economies of scale;
- Introducing standard data exchange procedures;
- Ensuring data security;
- Bringing the administration closer to citizens;
- Outsourcing some operations.
Upgrading businesses and e-commerce
The spread of information technology in business, particularly SMEs, is an important issue for Morocco's economy. The development of networks, mobile communications and multimedia, and the use of these technologies by business, is not just a matter of productivity enhancement but also an opportunity for businesses to conquer new markets or to make themselves stand out from the competition by developing new services related to their products, which will help generate growth and jobs.
Since e-commerce helps spur the introduction of IT by businesses, the Secretariat of State is working to facilitate access to and use of e commerce by means of appropriate incentives, including tax incentives.
At the same time, the agency is preparing a legal and regulatory framework designed to build confidence and create conditions conducive to the promotion of e-commerce.
The agency is particularly interested in promoting, in partnership with the chambers of commerce and crafts, the development of virtual trade shows that offer services and products in areas such as tourism, handicrafts and agriculture.
Decentralization and land-use planning
- IT is unquestionably a useful instrument for integrating and developing land-use policy, deconcentration and decentralization;
- The main objective in this area is to ensure better distribution of communication and information infrastructures and equitable access to those infrastructures in terms of technical conditions and pricing.
For this purpose, the Secretariat of State will implement a strategy organized around the following priorities:
- Creation of community telecentres providing all segments of the population with access to communication and information services, including the Internet, on the most economical terms, and reducing the isolation of rural areas. The government's objective is to open a community telecentre in each commune;
- Creation of a conducive environment for the development of distance services such as distance education, telemedicine and remote information services.
The Secretariat of State plans to promote their use, in partnership with local communities, by creating "city portals" in order to: (i) publicize local economic, cultural and tourism potential; (ii) facilitate information access and exchange at the local and inter-regional levels; (iii) promote the development of distance services; and (iv) develop virtual commercial showcases for local products.
The movement toward an information society provides an opportunity to strengthen Morocco's cultural identity through digitization of the cultural heritage and its dissemination, which can be increased exponentially through the use of IT. The heritage digitization policy will pursue the following objectives: (i) create electronic archiving systems at the administrations; (ii) promote public access through (iii) digitization of heritage collections and the general library and archives; and (iv) creation of multimedia cultural spaces.
Education and training
The far-reaching impact of IT in the fields of education and training calls for a strategy and action programme in order to:
- popularize IT tools in educational institutions;
- introduce basic computer training in primary and secondary schools;
- generalize computer training and Internet use in all institutions of higher learning;
- increase the number of connections supported by the MARWAN network in order eventually to link up the entire education and training system.
This programme must be accompanied by measures to increase the student capacity of training institutions in disciplines related to information and communication technology. In addition, another programme aimed at retraining unemployed graduates in IT trades and educating government officials and employees in multimedia tools and the Internet has been launched.