For the first time since the late 1970s, Morocco will use daylight saving time to alleviate energy costs and to align itself timewise with neighboring European countries. Morocco will observe daylight saving time by moving the clock one hour forward (UTC+1) at midnight between May 31 and June 1 in 2008.
Parts of the Western Sahara that are controlled by Morocco will also change their clocks with the rest of the nation. The country originally planned to return to its official standard time (UTC+0) by reverting the clock one hour back at midnight between September 27 and September 28 in 2008.However, it was announced in late August, 2008, that the end date had moved 27 days earlier so the nation's clocks would revert to its official standard time at midnight between August 31 and September 1, 2008.
Motives for the Schedule
According to Communication Minister Khalid Naciri (cited in MAP, the Moroccan state news agency), the government planned to revive daylight saving time to save energy and align itself timewise with its regional and international partners, particularly the European Union countries. An official from the National Office of Electricity (ONE) in Morocco said that the office supported the call for an alignment with European countries. Organizations such as ONE are willing to try out the idea that daylight saving time may save more energy and money for the country.
The Moroccan government also hopes to use the daylight saving schedule to combat the impact that increasing hydrocarbon prices in the international markets have on government’s budget. The government anticipates that tourism development will increase as a result of longer afternoons in the summer months during the daylight saving period.
It is believed that the daylight saving schedule would not heavily impact on daily life, but issues may arise when people of Islamic faith begin to observe the holy month of Ramadan – the month of fasting – on September 2, 2008. According to Central Intelligence Agency: World Factbook, 98.7 percent of Morocco’s population is Muslim.
However, aside from the government’s announcement about daylight saving time, not much more information is available at this stage and there is not a great deal of public backlash.
Morocco’s Recent Daylight Saving History
Morocco observed daylight saving time during the 1970s but discontinued it after 1978 due to its unpopularity among the Moroccan population at the time. Moreover, many people felt that daylight saving time did not create any major benefits for the country and its people.
The four months of the revived daylight saving schedule are considered as a trial period. At the end of this period, the schedule – its benefits and disadvantages – will be reviewed for a decision to extend it. If its disadvantages outweigh its benefits, daylight saving time may be abolished. However, if it proves to be successful, daylight saving time may be used either only during the summer months or throughout the whole year.