Week in Review – Vol. 32#34

National newsbriefs

LACKING WORK

More employment opportunities were asked for by about 60 unemployed people from Bamboo Lane, Caribbean Villa and Coco Solo, who closed for four hours one gate of the Cristobal port of Panama Ports Company in Colon. The protest action led to more than 30 containers not entering the port.

GETTING WORK

A total of 11,300 people signed new employment contracts with private companies up until the first half of March. This was announced by Chayanne Evans, Head of Contracts Analysis, of the Ministry of Labor and Social Development, who said, these are 7,626 men and 3.674 women and 436 foreigners.

CREATING WORK

The government last year spent $2,148 million to pay for its payroll. The figure is $192.6 million or 9.8% higher than the $1,956 million of payroll spending in 2011, which rose every year since Ricardo Martinelli took office. From 2009-2012, the overall disbursement on civil servants has amounted to $7,472 million for Increased hiring by the state that coincides with high growth.

MORE AIR CARGO

During 2012, air cargo recorded an increase of 4.6%, representing about 116.332 tons of international merchandise, six tons more than a year earlier, according to a report from Tocumen, S. A. At Tocumen International Airport alone 14 airlines operate that are dedicated to cargo service. The airline parcel and express delivery service of DHL has a market share of 51.2%, making a total of 59,541 metric tons of cargo and mail moved last year.

COMPUTER SHUTDOWN

The cargo handling operations at the port of Balboa and the Panama Canal Railway were paralyzed for at least two days. Panama Ports Company (PPC), which manages the port terminal, could not move a single container following the implementation of a technology that promised to improve the operations of the terminal, but paradoxically was stalled for days. The situation caused the Panama Railway Company to move no more than 2,000 containers in two days both at Balboa (Pacific) as well as from Manzanillo International Terminal in Colon.

NEW LOCKS GROWING

The design and construction of the third set of locks, which was won by Grupo Unidos por el Canal, has a 42% advance, it was said by the project director, Bernardo Gonzalez. The consortium has poured more than two million cubic meters of concrete, nearly half of the more than four million cubic meters needed to build the locks on the Atlantic and Pacific sides.

CREDIBILITY LACK

Constant changes to the laws on Fiscal Responsibility and the Panama Savings Fund have undermined the credibility of compliance, according to Moody’s rating agency. Aaron Freedman, Panama analyst for Moody’s, said that having such laws is a strength for the country, but in the case of Panama it is not because it does not comply.

MORE FLIGHTS

The Government expressed interest in expanding flight frequencies between Panama and Canada. The subject was raised at a meeting in Panama City between Panamanian Foreign Minister, Fernando Nunez Fabrega and the Minister of State of Canada, Diane Ablonczy, to expand bilateral relations.

FIGHTING CYBERCRIME

Panama could become the center of the Americas to combat cybercrime. The creation of this regional center is a proposal that was presented at the first International Conference Against Cybercrime, which was attended by police intelligence chiefs from some 20 countries on five continents.

GARBAGE BURNS

A large fire occurred in stage 2 of the Cerro Patacón garbage dump affecting approximately 12 hectares of land where there was a large amount of waste from the capital city and the district of San Miguelito. Two specialists, one from Canada and one from the United States, arrived to help with the work of suffocating the garbage dump fire.

NEW CHIRIQUI ROAD

The Minister of Economy and Finance, Frank De Lima, announced the extension of the road from Santiago to David, a project that could cost $700 to $800 million. De Lima said the figure was estimated after talks with the Minister of Public Works, Jaime Ford, and that it could take from three to four years to complete.

PANAMA SHOWCASE

Again Panama connectivity is a business magnet for the old continent, specifically the UK. In a different way and for the first time in the country, various British companies displayed their luxury retail brands and met with distributors in Latin America to use the isthmus as a springboard.

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