Monday 1st April 2024.

March 31, 2024


The last year of ordinary sessions of the current National Assembly , dominated by the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) , enters its final stretch.

Starting this Monday, April 1, the countdown begins for deputies to attend – in the middle of the electoral campaign and before April 30 – an agenda with 165 bills awaiting their second and third debate.

Among them the reform of the Internal Regulations of the legislature , which establishes the rules of transparency in the granting of scholarships, which creates the database of people in default on rent payments, which declares the Camino Real and the Camino Real as historical heritage. Camino de Cruces, which establishes the minimum requirements for the importation of second-hand vehicles, which establishes June 16 as Roberto Durán’s Day, which creates the museum and walk of the martyrs of January 9, 1964 , among others.

Led by PRD deputy Jaime Vargas , the Assembly has managed to get the Executive to sanction 12 laws in the period from January to March 2024. Meanwhile, 16 projects are still awaiting sanction by President Laurentino Cortizo.

A legislative report details that in 2023, 38 laws were passed. During 2022, 64 were sanctioned, when it was the administration of the PRD Crispano Adames.

In recent weeks, the plenary session of the Assembly – whose 2024 budget is 150 million dollars – has had short sessions because many deputies are campaigning, ahead of the general elections on May 5.

At least  60 of the 71  deputies will seek re-election. The list of candidates to reach a seat again is headed by  PRD , with 32 of the 35 that make up the current bench.

While in the Panameñista bench, six of the eight deputies who occupy a seat in the current Assembly will appear on the ballots next May. In the CD, 15 of the 18 deputies want to be re-elected, but the majority under other political banners.

Recovering Panama’s investment grade, after the Fitch rating agency downgraded the country to BB+ from ‘BBB-m, will have to be the “urgent challenge” of the new government.

This was indicated by the current president of the Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture of Panama (Cciap), Adolfo Fábrega, in the statement La Cámara Opina.

“On July 1, the administration of a new Government will begin and among the many structural challenges that the country faces, a new critical challenge will be to recover the investment grade of our sovereign debt by the Risk Rating Agency Fitch Ratings, which has just lowered this rating from BBB- to BB+,” he said.

He explained that the investment grade is a measure granted by credit rating agencies that indicates the financial strength and ability of a country to meet its financial commitments. Therefore, this classification is crucial to access financing on favorable conditions and maintain investor confidence. Ultimately, all of this has an impact on the price of money, which in turn impacts the price of the goods that people need to live.

The business union warned that in recent years the management of the State’s finances has affected the country’s credit rating and reputation as a safe investment destination.

“Factors such as the sustained increase in public debt, the perception of corruption and the lack of progress in transparency and the rule of law have contributed to eroding investor confidence,” Fábrega said.

He maintains that now there is no time to waste in starting the work of recovering that degree of investment, since this is essential to boost economic growth and lay the foundations for long-term sustainable growth.

“The new Government must address these challenges decisively and adopt courageous measures to restore the confidence of investors, both local and international,” he said.

The Chamber of Commerce considered that the new authorities will have to implement a Fiscal Consolidation Plan that ensures macroeconomic stability and restores fiscal stability. This will help reassure markets and demonstrate the country’s ability to manage its finances responsibly.

At the same time, he indicated that it will be essential to strengthen institutions, including those that have the obligation to supervise, and improve transparency in public management to combat corruption and guarantee accountability.

“This will send a positive signal to investors about the country’s commitment to transparent practices.”

At the same time, the business union maintains that it will be a priority to develop a strategy to attract foreign direct investment in key sectors of the economy, such as logistics, infrastructure, renewable energy, tourism, and technology and information. “This will not only boost economic growth, but also generate employment and knowledge.”

He also warns that the coming months will be critical in this sense, and a firm commitment from all political and social forces will be necessary to work together in the search for solutions.

“The urgency of starting the work and regaining the confidence of the markets cannot be underestimated. The new authorities must act with determination and determination to implement the necessary reforms and lay the foundations for a prosperous and sustainable future.”

In a report on the judicial management of the year 2023, the presiding judge of the Supreme Court of Justice, María Eugenia López, highlighted that during that period the Judicial Branch processed a total of 195,759 files, of which it managed to evacuate a total of 145,911 cases , reaching an effectiveness of 74.5% in their resolution.

Thus, the data reveal that there are 49,848 pending cases, which represents 25.5% of files in process.

According to the report, the effectiveness in resolving the files was a product of the application of new technologies, such as the electronic file, the holding of massive hearing sessions and the extension of service hours.

It was also suggested that aspects such as the process of evaluating the performance of judicial officials have had a high impact on the processing and evacuation processes of cases. The report highlights that the civil jurisdiction handles a large number of processes, since in 2023 there were a total of 70,228 processes, of which 40,235 were resolved.

At the close of the first quarter of 2024, an unprecedented humanitarian drama has marked the jungle region known as the Darién Gap , with a 24% increase in the migratory flow compared to the same period in 2023.

This natural corridor between Colombia and Panama has become a monumental challenge for those seeking a better life, facing extreme dangers and inhuman conditions on their journey.

Reports from the National Immigration Service specify that with a figure that amounts to 108,167 people between January and March, this caravan of walkers has experienced a significant increase compared to the same period of the previous year, when the figure stood at 87,390 individuals.

In the face of this human drama, religious leaders such as the bishop of Darién, Pedro Hernández, have raised their voices, urging solidarity and not abandoning those who seek refuge and opportunities beyond borders to their fate.

Currently, the epicenter of the migration crisis in Darién is centered on indigenous communities such as Lajas Blancas, where there are 1,055 migrants. There is also Bajo Chiquito, where the presence of 925 walkers is reported.

At the moment, an average of 1,050 migrants are arriving in Darién, after several days of traveling through the jungle. Most arrive with dehydration, diarrhea or respiratory illnesses. In the worst cases, they are victims of sexual assault and others die during the difficult journey.

During Holy Week 2024, a vehicle capacity of 98,302 vehicles was recorded. Of this number, 61,570 have returned, while it is estimated that approximately 36,732 vehicles have yet to return, according to a report from the National Police as of 3:30 pm on Sunday, March 31.

Starting at 8:00 am this Sunday, a lane reversal operation was implemented from Las Uvas de San Carlos to Sajalices, as well as from Campana to La Espiga.

Regarding the road safety device during Holy Week, 266 accidents have been attended to, resulting in three fatalities and 90 injuries. The fatalities include a hit-and-run in Chepo, a rollover in Pedasí (Los Santos province) and a crash in Coclé.

In addition, a total of 7,692 violations of the Traffic Regulations have been registered, highlighting 1,665 for speeding, 93 for driving under the influence of alcohol and 747 for having defective lights.


More articles