Moroccan minister resigns over consumer boycott sympathy

Centrale Danone was the target of a consumer boycott in Morocco. (Reuters pic)

RABAT: A Moroccan government minister will resign after coming under pressure for showing sympathy with a consumer boycott campaign targeting some of the country’s leading brands, his party said on Wednesday.

Governance minister Lahcen Daoudi, of the co-ruling PJD Islamist party, is the first political casualty of the campaign which has forced dairy firm Centrale Danone, part of France’s Danone, to cut production and lay off workers.

Daoudi showed up on Tuesday night at a sit-in of Centrale Danone workers calling on consumers to end the boycott, which the government fears will damage the wider economy.

“The participation of brother Lahcen Daoudi in the sit-in in question is unreasonable and inappropriate,” the PJD general secretariat said in a statement issued following an extraordinary meeting chaired by Prime Minister Saadeddine Othmani.

The secretariat general added that its members “appreciate that brother Lahcen Daoudi asked to be dismissed from his ministerial responsibility”.

Daoudi did not pick up his phone when Reuters called.

During the sit-in, Daoudi had told Reuters that the demands of the workers to stop the boycott were legitimate.

The boycott launched on April 20 is also directed at Afriquia fuel stations owned by billionaire minister Aziz Akhannouch and the Sidi Ali mineral water brand.

Centrale Danone has said sales have halved since the start of the campaign and it will post a 150 million Moroccan dirham (RM63.2 million) loss in the first half.

It has also said that the campaign prompted it to cut milk it collects from the 120,000 farmers who supply it by 30%.