Construction in Morocco: Mobilizing businesses for better trade data
Construction is a thriving business in Morocco, but data reporting lags behind the industry’s growth.
Capturing trade in construction is an uneasy task, causing headaches for data compilers. The reasons are manifold, including the complex nature of construction work and widespread subcontracting.
International standards, embodied in the Balance of Payments Manual, the Sixth Edition, and the Manual on Statistics of International Trade in Services 2010, do not make the work of compilers easier.
Trade statisticians are also requested to draw a clear line between trade in services and foreign direct investment. Ideally, they should further capture data on partner countries and gather detailed information on inputs used on construction sites.
The result is a complex questionnaire representing a significant reporting burden for companies.
Construction survey: Addressing a low response rate
The Office des Changes, Morocco's statistical office, has recently launched a new survey called Échanges Internationaux des Services, which aims at collecting data on trade in services, capturing also the partner country dimension. The survey has run smoothly in all sectors, except for construction. The reason? A low response rate from companies due to the complex construction module.
In response, OdC sought to mobilize the private sector and emphasize the importance of data sharing. In support of this effort, the International Trade Centre (ITC) gladly cooperated and co-organized a workshop for major construction operators in Morocco on 24 October 2023.
Starting a dialogue benefitting all
‘This workshop will allow us to raise awareness among our 3,000 member companies, many of which export services to Africa or use subcontractors for projects in Morocco,’ said Toufik Cherradi, President of the Educational Commission at National Federation of Construction Companies (FNBTP).
‘It would be great if we could have a database of reliable data to guide future investments and make better-informed investment decisions,’ added Karima Melikh, Director of Tramway Infrastructures at CASA Transport.
‘The enhanced data will undoubtedly lead to a better understanding of the construction sector,’ said Karim Mountasser, Financial Director for International Activities at Société Générale des Travaux du Maroc, a prominent player in the field of public works. ‘However, there is a need for the popularization of the importance of collecting more data, along with the development of user-friendly questionnaires.’
The workshop was organized in the framework of the Trade and Investment Facilitation Mechanism (TIFM II), financed by the European Union. TIFM II aims to facilitate closer economic ties between the EU and ten Mediterranean countries by providing free access to trade data.