Posted by: XINHUANET

Moroccan Prime Minister Saadeddine El Othmani cancelled vacations of 10 ministers over delay in development projects in the country’s restive northeastern region, local media reported on Saturday.

The ministers usually take their annual vacations in August.

According to the Moroccan daily Assabah, El Othmani has formally informed the 10 ministers, adding that the concerned ministers will also not be allowed to leave the country.

PM instructed the ministers to closely follow up the projects and make regular visits to ensure their proper implementation, the same source pointed out.

In 2015, Morocco launched Lighthouse of the Mediterranean, a large-scale development program in the north-eastern province of Al Hociema, but many of its projects have been marred by delays.

Disappointed by the delays, king Mohammed VI ordered in late June the cancelling of the vacations for the ministers concerned with the implementation of the development program, and set up an investigation committee to hold related officials responsible for the delays.

In a speech to the nation on the occasion of the 18th anniversary of ascension to the throne on July 29, the king blamed politicians and public officials for their low performance and for the delay witnessed in the implementation of a set of social projects in Morocco’s different regions, including Al Hociema.

The situation in Al Hoceima has been tense since October 2016, when fish vendor Mouhcine Fikri was crushed to death after climbing into a rubbish lorry to retrieve his swordfish confiscated by police.

The demand for justice for Fikri in the northeastern region has evolved into a major grassroots movement to protest the delay in the implementation of scheduled projects, requesting greater government investment to create more jobs.

Currently returning to calm, Morocco has not witnessed any protests of this size since the pro-democracy demonstrations during the Arab spring in 2011.

Editor: Song Lifang

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