Introduction

    After phosphates, the Moroccan pharmaceutical industry constitutes the second largest chemical industry in Morocco, and ranks second in the African continent.

    This industry has a large potential for development thanks to the following advantages:

    • 50 years of experience;
    • Certified companies producing to European and/or American quality standards;
    • A production capacity of 350 million units per 8-hour shift;
    • The adoption of the code of Basic Health Insurance introducing the Mandatory Health Insurance scheme (l’Assurance Maladie Obligatoire – AMO);
    • The adoption of a new code of medicines and pharmacy providing for the liberalization of the capital stock of pharmaceutical companies.

    Laboratories in Morocco fall into one of three categories:

    • Subsidiaries of multinationals without on-site production;
    • Mixed companies representing subsidiaries of multinationals while producing their own medicines;
    • Moroccan companies manufacturing their own range of generic medicines.

    Professional associations of the sector:

    • Moroccan Association of Generic Medicines (AMMG) (http://www.ammg.ma/fr/)
    • Moroccan Association of Pharmaceutical Industry (AMIP) (http://www.amip.ma)
    • Moroccan Innovation & Health (MIS) (http://www.mis.ma)

    Main companies of the sector:

    COOPER MAROC, MAPHAR, SANOFI MAROC, SOTHEMA, LAPROPHAN



Ecosystems of the sector

    Ecosystems, the cornerstone of the Industrial Acceleration Plan 2014-2020, are designed to reduce sectoral fragmentation and to promote integrated development of industrial activities. The aim is to integrate the local industrial fabric around leading companies by encouraging mutually beneficial partnerships with SMEs, first by acting as catalyst and second by providing perspective and visibility, which in turn bring creativity, a sense of innovation and dynamism.

    Appropriate and targeted support is provided to companies in the ecosystems regarding finance, industrial land and training.

    The Industrial Development Fund (FDI), operational since 1 January 2015, allocates 3 billion dirhams per year for the period 2014-2120 to ecosystem companies to enable them to realize their ambitions in upgrading, development and internationalization.

    State support is also backed up with integrated and competitive bank financing.

    The ecosystem companies can also:

    Have access to quality industrial land thanks to the innovative concept of industrial rental parks; Benefit their employees through relevant staff training courses.

    On 24 Mars 2016, two performance contracts have been signed between The Ministry of Industry, Trade, Investment and the Digital Economy, the Ministry of Economy and Finance, the Ministry of Health and the concerned professional associations to support the launch of the « Medicines » and « Medical devices » ecosystems.

    These two new ecosystems cover all of the medicine and medical devices production value chain, from development to commercialisation for the following activities :clinical trials, active ingredients and packaging, manufacturing for local markets and export, biosimilar medicines, medical devices.

    Ultimately, the implementation of the launched ecosystems will help :

    • create between 4,700 and 5,000 new direct jobs with high added value;
    • generate 4.1 billion dirhams of additional industrial added value;
    • Generate an additional commercial surplus of about 7.6 billion dirhams.

    The « medicine » ecosystem, which will help position Morocco as a strong destination for international clinical trials and strengthen the Moroccan medicine in the local and International market.

    Regarding the sector "Medical Devices", it will essentially encourage the emergence of local consumables manufacturers for the both export and the domestic market, as well as a better positioning of Morocco as an offshoring platform for the production of devices and electronic equipment.

Assistance and support

    1. Support for the Sector’s Ecosystems

    Integrated and innovative support measures have been implemented to benefit the textile ecosystems:

    • The implementation of a canvassing plan for FDI’s: International CRO’s, research centres and international universities, equipment manufacturers and electronic equipment.
    • The implementation of targeted regulatory measures: enforcement decrees of the law on clinical trials, sites certification, guarantee of patents’ protection, decrees relating to bio-similar medicine and medical devices…
    • The introduction of measures that will encourage local integration: export licenses for vegetal resources not valued locally;
    • Access to land through the provision of 8 hectares of land, at competitive prices.
    • Implementation of a training scheme covering 100% to the ecosystems’ needs: 4700 to 5000 profiles.
    • Introduction of the national preference clause in public calls for tenders.

    2. Investment Promotion Fund (FPI)

    Under the Investment Charter, the FPI offers partial coverage by the Government of certain expenses related to the acquisition of property (up to 20% of the cost of land), external infrastructure (up to 5% of the total amount of the investment programme, or 10% in the case of an investment in the sector of spinning, weaving or finishing) and vocational training (up to 20% of the cost of the training).

    These contributions may be combined as long as the total contribution of the state does not exceed 5% of the total investment programme; or 10% in the case of investment in the sector of spinning, weaving or finishing; or when the investment project is located in a suburban or rural area.

    Eligibility criteria:

    The investment project must meet at least one of the following five criteria:

    • Represent an amount of 200 million dirhams or more over a 3-year period;
    • To be located in one of the provinces or prefectures mentioned in Decree No. 2-98-520 dated 5 Rabii I 1419 (30 June 1998);
    • Create a minimum of 250 stable jobs over 3 years;
    • Provide technology transfer;
    • Contribute to the protection of the environment.

    3. Hassan II Fund for Economic and Social Development

    As part of the Industrial Acceleration Plan, aid from the Hassan II Fund has been extended to include the chemicals and para-chemicals industries (ICP). The Fund provides a financial contribution of up to 15% of the total amount of the investment, capped at 30 million dirhams, detailed as follows:

    • 10% of the cost of commercial buildings (excluding any other state contribution given for the acquisition of land and/or construction of professional buildings);
    • 20% of acquisition cost of new capital equipment (excluding any other state contribution given for the acquisition of capital equipment).

    To benefit from the Fund new investment projects (either creation or expansion) must represent a total investment amount of 10 million dirhams or more before tax and import duty, with the condition that the amount of investment in new or second-hand capital equipment before tax and import duty must exceed 5 million dirhams and that the investors are companies operating in one of the following activities:

    • Research for new medications with therapeutic benefit for the treatment of serious diseases;
    • Manufacturing of generic or bio-similar versions of innovative medicines with high added value either therapeutically or economically.

    The investment application must include the following documents:

    • The statutes of the company;
    • A detailed description of the investment project;
    • References of the investor;
    • The cost of the project and the number of jobs created;
    • The method of financing the project;
    • Architectural plans of the buildings;
    • Surveying certificate;
    • A list of new equipment to purchase, with quotes;
    • Installation plans with all equipment shown to scale, with the designation of all equipment (in line with the aforementioned list of equipment);
    • The project schedule;

    A completed application form requesting assistance from the Hassan II Fund.

    4. Tax incentives

    Tax incentives are provided for by article 123-22°-a) of the General Tax Code and Article 7.1 of finance law No. 12-98 for the 1998/9 budget year as amended and supplemented by the following:

    • The exemption from import duty on capital equipment, materials and tools necessary for the implementation of an investment project with a total cost greater than 200 million dirhams during 36 months after the signing of the investment agreement; this exemption is extended to parts, replacement parts and accessories imported at the same time as the aforementioned equipment;
    • The exemption from VAT on imports of capital equipment, materials and tools necessary for the implementation of an investment project with a total cost greater than 200 million dirhams until 36 months after the start of activity by the company or from the date of issuance of the building permit, and which may be extended by six months in the event of force majeure (renewable once); this exemption is extended to parts, replacement parts and accessories imported at the same time as the aforementioned equipment.

    5. Support for SMEs

    SMEs in the sector may benefit from special support within the programmes developed by MAROC PME:

    IMTIAZ CROISSANCE (link to site ANPME); ISTITMAR CROISSANCE (link to site ANPME); AUTO-ENTREPRENEUR (link to site ANPME).

    6. Free zone status

    A free trade zone (ZFE) is a specified area of land devoted to export activities for industrial purposes and related service activities. Each free zone is created and delimited by a decree that determines the nature and business activities that can be established there. The operational free trade zones are located at Tangier (Tanger Free Zone – TFZ and Tanger Automotive City – TAC), at Kenitra (Atlantic Free Zone – AFZ), at Casablanca (Midparc), at Rabat (Technopolis) and at Oujda (Technopole d’Oujda).

    To obtain free zone status under law No. 19-94, companies must have obtained authorization from the local commission of the free export zone, which is presided over by the wali or governor of the region, and must make at least 70% of their turnover from exports.

    Free zone status allows for the exemption of foreign trade and exchange controls, as well as access to the following state aid:

    Tax incentives resulting in:

    • Exemption from income tax (IR) during the first 5 years, and then a reduction of 80% of tax on gross earned income during the following 20 years;
    • Exemption from corporation tax (IS) for the first 5 years, and then a rate of 8.75% for the following 20 years;
    • Exemption from professional tax for the first 15 years;
    • Exemption from urban tax for the first 15 years;
    • Exemption from participation in national solidarity;
    • Exemption from tax on income from corporate rights, dividends and similar income for non-residents and a reduction in tax to 7.5% for residents;

    Customs benefits:

    • Exemption from import duties, and simplified customs procedures;
    • Unlimited exemption from value added tax in respect of products delivered and services supplied to the free export zones and from the subjected territory;

    Administrative facilitations:

    • Exemption from registration fees and stamp duty on instruments of incorporation or increases in the capital of the company, as well as on land acquisitions;
    • The establishment of a one-stop service to the investor.

Training

    A question of strategic importance of the IAP 2014-2020

    The training of human resources is a strategic activity of the Industrial Acceleration Plan (IAP) 2014-2020. The availability and quality of human resources determine the attractiveness of Morocco as a destination, and increase the productivity and competitiveness of the companies.

    Amongst other things the strategy aims at providing the ecosystems in place with skilled profiles. The detailed mapping of training needs - with a quantification of the human resource requirements by sector, profile, region and year - and the identification of training opportunities available in Morocco are ongoing, which will enable the development of a national training plan.

    Consult the list of training needs for performance contracts signed by end - May 2017

Reception Infrastructure

    In parallel general and sectoral Integrated Industrial Platforms (P2I), possibly benefiting from the free zone status, guarantee the availability of property at an attractive price, comprehensive and diverse real-estate and logistics options conforming to the best international standards, as well as on-site services and a one stop shop for administration.

    In the framework of the Industrial Acceleration Plan, the Ministry plans for the mobilization of 1,000 hectares to create Integrated Industrial Rental Parks (PIL) with turnkey premises: each park will include a one stop shop for administration, a local job pool, ad hoc services and a training programme.