Rabat: Coffee shops rebel against a tax decision by the mayor’s office

Tensions rise again between the mayor of the capital and owners of cafes and restaurants in Rabat. After a spat that took place last September between the municipality and owners of cafes and restaurants, which were joined by traders who operate without administrative authorization, the mayor’s office is back to the charge to urge this time the cafes to regularize their tax situation vis-à-vis the municipality, an appeal that is far from the taste of owners who object that they have just recovered from a crisis of three years which has burdened their coffers. 

Because it came in a gloomy situation, such a notice of recovery, described as “threats”, was enough to provoke the ire of the owners of cafes in Rabat. Thus, the latter are called to pay a tax on drinks and another on the occupation of public space, and this following a decision of the City Council to increase the tax on beverages of 50/70dh, as well as royalties that reach 525 dirhams per square meter, payable every 3 months. A measure that continues to cause uproar, in this difficult economic climate. 

Such an arm wrestling has not left indifferent the Federation of owners of cafes and restaurants in Morocco, which, through the voice of its president, Noureddine El Harrak, notes the serious consequences that this decision could have because, he said, in the opinion of the supervisory authority, if the cafes fail to pay their taxes, the competent authorities will move to the seizure of their property, in accordance with the law. 

He called the decision of the mayor’s office “ill-considered”. The fact of increasing the tax on soft drinks, which represent a significant portion of sales of cafes, may increase the prices of these products and thus penalize the activity of most cafes in the city that rely on the summer season to balance their accounts, “he argued. 

In this context, the pressurizers do not intend to give up especially since the City Council does not seem to bend counting on the support of the members of the Council. Thus, the protesters plan to close their cafes and restaurants for 72 hours, question of alerting the authorities on the economic consequences of this measure and demand its revision. As for the date of the said strike.

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