Arabic Version
Morocco Sets Dec 15th For Y2K Readiness
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RABAT, Nov 30 (Reuters) - Morocco is almost Y2K ready, especially in vital sectors, but has set mid-December as a target date for 100 percent preparedness to beat the millennium bug, the country's coordinator said on Tuesday.
``A survey we conducted in July showed that Y2K readiness was anywhere between 40 and 99 percent. Fortunately, that percentage was higher among vital sectors such as banks, hospitals, water and electricity,'' National Y2K Coordinator Radia Laraki told Reuters in an interview.
``Y2K awareness has been rising since then and we feel confident that we will be fully prepared by the target date on December 15,'' she added.
The millennium bug is the result of many computers being unable to recognise the abbreviated year date ``00,'' causing potential problems when 1999 changes to 00.
Laraki said the government had contingency plans to deal with problems that may arise as the new millennium dawns and had set up a website ( allowing the public to monitor progress made so far, she added.
``The contingency plan covers 50 vital institutions, such as the central bank, the ministry of finance, national airline Royal Air Maroc, hospitals, ports and refineries,'' Laraki said.
``We approved detailed recommendations for each institution after studying how each sector would affect the other and what steps should be taken to prevent any disruption,'' she added. ``The key aim was to maintain regular tests throughout.''
Laraki said the Socialist-led government launched an awareness campaign shortly after a January survey of 1,800 public and private institutions showed an alarming 55 percent of them were not ready to deal with the millennium bug.
``We applied some tough parameters to shake off the image that we are a third world African country that doesn't really care much about information technology,'' she added.
Laraki acknowledged she was surprised by some answers her team got, even from technical experts, about the possible damage and disruption that might be caused if the problem was not resolved in time.
``Many people, including some technicians, had responded by saying they believed the problem was artificially created by the United States and other Western countries to sell us new equipment,'' she said.
``It was important for us to reach decision-makers to put the Y2K as a top priority...Many institutions acted swiftly to change non-compliant equipment.
``I believe we will be fully ready, but at the same time, we continue to prepare for any emergency,'' she added.

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© Dec. 1999