Morocco Payment Survey 2019: Payment terms to remain long
During the first quarter of 2019, Coface conducted its fourth survey on businesses’ payment experience in Morocco. This survey aims to monitor the evolution of payment terms and delays. The payment behaviour reflects the evolution of both the economic situation and of the business environment.
According to the results of this survey, contractual payment terms remain long, averaging at 93 days. Although still high, they show a slight improvement, shortening by about 5 days compared to our previous survey conducted at the end of 2017. This also suggests that payment delays remain widespread, with more than half of our sample indicating that, over the past six months, they had experienced delays exceeding three months.
While gross domestic product (GDP) growth in 2018 slowed down (estimated at 2.9% after the 4.1% recorded in 2017; Coface forecasts 3% in 2019), few companies perceived a deterioration. This paradox can partly be attributed to the normalisation of the political climate compared to 2017, when the executive was vacant for five months, resulting in a 40% increase in defaults in the first quarter and the blocking of payments on public contracts. For 2019, companies seem to expect payment terms to evolve in line with the economic situation and therefore mainly anticipate a stabilisation of the country’s economic situation and payment terms.
The persistent long payment periods suggest notably that the law on payment terms is difficult to enforce, notably because it lacks the laws on penalties for late payments and payment terms specific to companies facing difficulties or engaged in seasonal activities. Also, despite the progress made in international business climate rankings, this progress does not yet seem to be reflected in payment terms.
As evidenced by the establishment of the monitoring centre of payment delays and the electronic platform “Ajal”, the public and private sectors nevertheless remain mobilised to remedy this problem, which is accompanied by numerous late payments and unpaid invoices. While the latter represent more than 20% of turnover for a quarter of the companies that participated in our survey, late payments and unpaid bills are a major constraint for companies: the Confédération Générale des Entreprises du Maroc (CGEM), a Moroccan business association, estimates that they are responsible for 40% of business failures in Morocco.
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