Week in Review Vol. 38#2

BRIDGE WORK

The Ministry of Public Works (MOP) reported that the design and construction of the Fourth Bridge over the Panama Canal is in its preliminary stage with topographic and geotechnical studies and identification of the areas for the construction of roads. Through a statement, the MOP highlighted that it develops this through the Panama Fourth Bridge Consortium, made up of the companies China Communications Construction Company Ltd and China Harbor Engineering Company Ltd., for an investment amount of $1,518,029,237.46.

ASIA VIEW

A delegation from the Panama Canal Authority (ACP), headed by administrator Jorge Luis Quijano, recently returned from Asia after meetings with clients and organizations in the maritime, energy and infrastructure sectors. During the meetings they talked about the current operation of the waterway and the possible improvements in the service, as well as obtaining valuable information from industry leaders.

FAILURE

After a month of irregular operation of the new digital Central American single declaration system, losses of $1 billion are calculated in the movement of land cargo in the region.

COMPLAINTS

The Federation of Chambers of Commerce of Central America complained of the “multiple problems” in the implementation of the Central American Single Declaration (DUCA). Through a statement, they urged the Customs authorities of the region to resolve “efficiently and definitively on the situation.”

PORT ALARM

The President of the Republic, Juan Carlos Varela, gave the order to reinforce security in the ports after the murder of the retired captain of the National Police Force, Germán Javier Henríquez, who worked at Panama Ports Company in Colón.

REFORMS

After several months, a consensus could be reached regarding the package of Constitutional Reforms, with several disagreements which are related to the National Assembly and the justice system. Some of the articles that were reflected despite the differences were the concept of parity at the time of making applications, that the deputies can not have other paid employment, whether public or private, they will have to be full time. It was also approved that the deputy or alternate deputy will only be paid as long as they work and the deputies and alternates can not be reelected for more than an additional period of consecutive term.

PACKING

The Board of Directors of Tocumen, S.A. met and the highlight was the future concession of luggage packaging. The tender will be declared void after a single proponent submitted a proposal, when two groups were expected in the dispute over the 10-year contract.

PARTNERS

The public-private partnership (PPP) scheme offers great opportunities for Panama to attract foreign capital investments to generate greater sources of employment, considered one of the most important business associations in the country. The Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture of Panama (CCIAP) said that with this tool it will be possible to reduce the tax burden on the State coffers. In addition, it would promote the participation of local capital in works of public interest throughout the national geography, which would further boost the performance of the Panamanian economy.

TAX FALL

For the first quarter of 2019, the government failed to collect taxes to meet the country’s debt commitments for this period. According to preliminary figures from the Department of Revenue (DGI), in the accumulated period from January to March, it was planned to raise $2,112 million in current revenues, but only $1,585 million were obtained. This means that for the period studied, $526.1 million was raised, a deficit of 24.9% in revenue collection.

EXPORTS

Industry and economists of the country agreed on the need to develop a complementary agenda that strengthens local production to boost exports through the 22 trade agreements signed by Panama.

REALITY

The numbers continue to adjust to reality. The World Bank estimated in its latest forecasts that world economic growth would be 2.6% in 2019, one point lower than expected. For 2020 they predict a 2.7%. It expects growth in emerging and developing economies to stabilize next year as some countries leave behind periods of financial stress. For 2020, 2.7% is projected. However, they affirm that “the economic impulse will continue to be weak.’’

IN SUSPENSE

The copper concentrate released from the bowels of the district of Donoso, Colon province, would have had its first shipment on June 14, but it is in the middle of a legal swamp that has put Minera Panama in checkmate, a subsidiary of the Canadian First Quantum Minerals. A ruling by the Supreme Court, which arrived 10 years late on December 21, 2017, declared unconstitutional the Contract Law 9 of 1997 signed between the State and Petaquilla Minerals, owner of the concession to extract gold, copper and other minerals in 13,600 hectares in Donoso. But it was not until September of the following year, in 2018, when the parties were notified.

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