Morocco Approves MAD 58 Billion for 68 Investment projects 30 for

Rabat – Morocco’s investment committee has approved 68 draft agreements and amendments to investment agreements for MAD 57.65 billion.The investment committee held a meeting chaired by Head of Government Saad Eddine El Othmani on Tuesday, October 23, in Rabat.Morocco’s Minister of Industry Moulay Hafid Elalamy said in a press briefing after the meeting that the agreements will generate 9,266 direct jobs, Maghreb Arab Press (Map) reported. The committee approved the agreements in two separate meetings, 48 agreements on January 10 and 20 agreements on Tuesday, Elalamy added.Elalamy gave details about the sectors the government will invest in and the forecasted job positions.The industrial sector will receive MAD 21.55 billion, transport and infrastructure MAD 10.91 billion, energy sector MAD 7.79 billion, and tourism MAD 5.98 billion.Elalamy predicts the industrial and tourism projects will create 2,850 jobs each, fishing and agri-food industry 2,038 jobs, and telecommunications 607 jobs.Read also: Morocco’s 2019 Finance Bill Increases Subsidy Fund by 35%Laayoune region receives lion’s shareThe Laayoune-Sakia El Hamra region in Western Sahara took the lion’s share of the investment projects at 30 percent, with a total of MAD 17.18 billion, said Elalamy.The Rabat-Sale-Kenitra region received MAD 8.14 billion (14 percent) while the Casablanca-Settat region received MAD 8.07 billion (14 percent). The remaining MAD 11.95 billion (20 percent) of investment projects will be spread to some or all of the nine other regions.Elalamy believes that the new allocation will allow a “gradual” establishment of investment equity between the 12 administrative regions.Elalamy expects the investment projects will generate 2,815 direct jobs (30 percent) in Laayoune-Sakia El Hamra, 2,178 jobs in Rabat-Sale-Kenitra (23 percent), 2,052 jobs in (22 percent) in Casablanca-Settat, and 920 jobs (9 percent) in Marrakech-Safi.Elalamy explained that the state capital in the approved investment projects totaled MAD 36.29 billion (63 percent) while joint-ventures will fund 29 percent of the investment projects.In 2017 the committee approved a total of 51 draft agreements and amendments to the investment agreements, for a total amount of MAD 67 billion, which the government predicted would generate 6,777 direct jobs.Driss Jettou, head of the Court of Auditors, said Tuesday in Parliament, that public investments in 2017 amounted to MAD 188.3 billion, including an MAD 66.8 billion state contribution, an MAD 106 billion contribution by public companies and institutions, and an MAD 15.5 billion contribution by territorial communes.Read also: Benchaaboun: Privatization to Cut Deficit to 3.3% GDP in 2019Minister of Economy and Finance Mohamed Benchaaboun said Tuesday in a press conference, “The 2019 Finance Bill aims to stimulate a new dynamic in the investment and support business, through a set of measures and initiatives to consolidate ‘confidence’ of business and promote investment.”Benchaaboun indicated that “public investment is intended to be the ‘locomotive’ of the private sector since the 2019 Finance Bill allocated an overall budget of MAD 195 billion for public investment.” read more

Residents express concern over toxic gas levels

The hydrogen sulphide emanating from a natural gas vent in Silver Hill occasionally peaks at levels well beyond what is dangerous to human health.No amount of hydrogen sulphide gas is considered safe. However, industrial safety experts consider 100 parts per million or higher as immediately dangerous to human health.Gas monitoring devices posted in a county wetland at 1925 Forestry Farm Road occasionally register levels in the range of 180 parts per million. Nearby residents are worried.“That’s really high,” Brian Craig of Langton told Norfolk council Tuesday. “We’re really concerned about this.”The Ministry of Natural Resources has told Norfolk County it may qualify for $500,000 in funding to research solutions and a long-term strategy for dealing with problem wells.A total of 2,600 gas wells have been registered in Norfolk over the decades. Some are abandoned and have no traceable ownership. Toxic gas emissions are considered a serious public health issue.Norfolk County issued emergency evacuation orders in Silver Hill in 2017 after dangerous levels of hydrogen sulphide gas were detected in the area of North Walsingham Road 10. With so many orphaned wells in the county, the Haldimand-Norfolk health unit is preparing for the likelihood that toxic gas emissions will be a chronic problem.Mayor Kristal Chopp welcomes the $500,000 in funding if Norfolk qualifies for it.However – with regard to the situation on Forestry Farm Road – Chopp said the time for collecting data is over. Chopp wants to see expert advice on an approach that might bring the situation to a conclusion.Motorists on Forestry Farm Road will notice a strong smell of rotten eggs in the area of McDowell Road. Norfolk has posted skull-and-cross bones signage in the area warning that the odour is a potential threat.The source of the gas is in the middle of swamp in a low-lying area next to the road. Capping the vent like the two wells on North Walsingham Road 10 were capped two years ago is complicated because no one knows the geography beneath the surface or how to calculate an engineered solution.Craig and his neighbours want the health unit to fit their properties with hydrogen sulphide detectors so they can determine, at a glance, the levels of gas encroaching on their properties. Marlene Miranda, Haldimand and Norfolk’s general manager of health and social services, said these meters cost about $8,000 each.Hydrogen sulphide gas is corrosive, toxic and flammable. It is a common byproduct of natural gas production.“Prolonged exposure for several hours or days with concentrations as low as 50 (to) 100 parts per million can cause a runny nose, cough, hoarseness and shortness of breath,” Miranda said in a report to council.“Prolonged exposure to higher concentrations can produce bronchitis, pneumonia and a potentially fatal build-up of fluid in the lungs (known as) pulmonary edema.”[email protected] read more