NATION BACKS COLON
On the eighth day of protests against Law 72, which allows the sale of land in the Colon Free Zone, chaos continued in the capital city from road closures by construction workers and students. President Ricardo Martinelli announced, by Twitter, from Japan, that he would repeal Law 72. The reaction in Colon was that a Twitter message was not the Government Gazette. The death toll in clashes in Colon stood at three. Some 20 organizations that make up the National Coalition for Development requested the repeal of Act 72. “With a view to returning to Colon calm, as a first step comes the repeal of legislative rule as inconvenient,” said the joint statement. The bridge built by the Government to specify a dialogue with the forces of Colon over Law 72, failed. The Chamber of Commerce of Colon and the Colon Broad Front, which brings together unions and civic associations in the province, leading to a general strike, announced they would not attend a high-level committee appointed by the Executive to go to Colon and talk. There has been very little return from the advertising investment of Government to sell the “benefits” of the law, enacted and promulgated in record time. Country-wide demonstrations are still growing. Four state ministers moved to Colon to try and quell the violence and police repression in the streets of the city, while the Frente Amplio de Colon and the Colon Chamber of Commerce requested the repeal of the law as a “non-negotiable” condition to start a dialogue.
The Panama Canal revenues during the fiscal year ended September 30 totaled $2,410 million, $12 million above budget and $92 million more than the previous year. During a breakfast of the Panama Chamber of Shipping, the administrator of the Panama Canal Authority (ACP), Jorge Luis Quijano, reported that 51% of revenue comes from the container ship segment.
BEARER SHARE WAR
Corporations with bearer shares have until February 2016 to give them to a custodian. This is what is set in the final draft to be presented to the National Assembly and it has already reached the hands of the lawyers’ associations. This is an important step by the government in order to pass the review of the Global Forum of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
Panama’s public debt at September 30, 2012 amounted to $14,430.7 million. The balance increased by $1,533.9 million in just one year, higher than the contract for the construction of the first line of the Panama Metro – $ 1.452 million. Since Ricardo Martinelli took office, on July 1, 2009, the balance of the public debt of Panama rose b y $3,628.6 million, which also exceeds the investment in the third set of locks of the Panama Canal – $3.200 million.
SPYING ON JUDGES?
An audit ordered by the magistrates court of the Fourth Chamber of General Affairs of the Supreme Court (CSJ) to check the alleged existence of “sensitive information” on computers assigned to four assistant judges by Hernán De Leon opens up the debate on how far the jurisdiction of judges goes at the Gil Ponce Palace.
CITY OF ARTS
The Government will launch a new turnkey project. It is the City of the Arts in Curundú, Ancon, which costs $54 million. Almost nothing was known about this work, as the authorities in charge of it had said little, but all the details are on the website PanamáCompra. The project was awarded to the Omega Consortium, composed of Puerto Rican and national businesses. The companies that make up this group are: Omega Engineering and Mallol & Mallol.
The construction and delivery of large office buildings in Panama City puts pressure on their occupancy. This trend has been appreciating over the past year. According to a study by the consultancy, Indesa, entitled “The Office Market in Panama City”, in the first quarter of 2011 occupancy was 95.4%, nine percentage points above the occupation in the first quarter of this year (86.5%).
POSSIBLE AIR LINKS
About four airlines have shown interest in establishing direct flights to Tocumen International Airport. Among the companies are Air Canada, Jet Blue, All Nippon Airways and Southwest, who have approached the airport authorities to explain the operation of the terminal. The Manager of Tocumen SA, Juan Carlos Pino gave no further details, but said that the intentions of the companies are formal.
The balances of the banking system showed a growth of 13.7% to $30,737 million in August, 2012, but not all sectors reflect these results. Of the 11 sectors reported, by financial firms the industrial section is negative.
NOW A MONORAIL
President Ricardo Martinelli called on Japanese businessmen to invest in his country in sectors such as ports, mining and hydropower, while demonstrating the interest of his country in the Japanese monorail transport system. In a seminar held in Tokyo of about 140 private investors, Martinelli presented himself to the audience “not as a politician but as a businessman.” He said there are “immense opportunities” in Panama for Japan to offer “the best strategic location” as a gateway to Latin America.
The Prosecutor of Naples confirmed investigating the alleged bribery by Finmeccanica of the president, “political figures” and figures from the Panamanian government for 18 million euros ($23.4 million) to award a multimillion dollar contract to supply safety equipment to the Panamanian State.
Panama with Costa Rica and Guatemala highlighted the list of countries that made changes to improve the business climate. A new report from the International Finance Corporation and the World Bank said that the three Latin American nations stand out among the 10 economies that implemented regulatory reforms to help local entrepreneurs doing business between June 2011 and June 2012.
BIG LAND SALES
Some $2,292 million could be collected in the next 10 years by the Administrative Unit of Reverted Property (UABR) of the Ministry of Economy and Finance, with the sale of land yet to be developed in the reverted areas. The idea was unveiled after the presentation of a report by the World Bank (WB), called Strategies for Development 2012-2022 in Reverted Areas, which highlights the potential use of six areas.
NEW CONVENTION CENTER
At a cost of $193,750,000.01 the Consorcio HPC – Contratas P&V won the bidding for the Design, Construction and Equipping the Convention Center of events and exhibitions in Amador that will replace the current ATLAPA Convention Center. This is indicated by resolution 113 published on the website of PanamaCompra.