Monday 20th November 2023.

November 19, 2023


The Government decided to suspend the “Solidarity Christmas” program for 2023. This was reported by the Agricultural Marketing Institute (IMA) this Sunday, November 19, through a statement.

According to the IMA, the decision was agreed with the agribusiness due to the decrease in product supply.

“It is a public and well-known fact that street closures have made mobility impossible in recent weeks throughout the country, complicating access to raw materials to manufacture meat products, making their distribution nationwide impossible,” he highlighted.

The Ministry of Agricultural Development (Mida) had allocated a total of $25 million for the Solidarity Christmas 2023 program.

According to Mida, this program “ seeks to provide the Panamanian population, especially those with limited resources and vulnerable areas, with pieces of pork, chicken and other products characteristic of the Christmas season, in addition to supporting producers throughout the country with the purchasing their products and marketing them.”

With the road closures, tourist activity on Iguana Island, Los Santos, has fallen by 75%.

This was recognized by Luis Marín, from the United Pedasieños Fishermen’s Association, who pointed out that the permanent roadblocks throughout the country are affecting their activity.

Marín indicated that although the trips for the national days must have been good, “the closures have affected us a lot because tourists cannot pass and tourist fishing trips have also been canceled.”

He said that the few tourists who come to Pedasí do so by air, but they are not arriving to the island.

If even 15% arrives on the island, Marín assured, while pointing out that since there are a little more than 60 boatmen, their income is considerably reduced.

Marín assured that for this reason they have no other option but to resort to sport fishing or catching tuna to sell and be able to bring an economic livelihood to their homes.

The United Pedasieños Fishermen’s Association has its concession to provide auxiliary maritime services for the transportation of passengers and tourists for recreation or tourism.

Members of the Institutional Directorate of Operations of the National Migration Service captured 13 people from Africa, mostly from Cameroon, when they were preparing to leave the country for Costa Rica by land.

According to Immigration, this group of people had recently entered Panama on a “regular basis.”

They were supposedly participating in a religious congress, the entity indicated.

“However, their actions proved that their true objective was to migrate irregularly to North America by land, assisted by transnational organized crime networks dedicated to human trafficking and smuggling, taking advantage of their status as tourists in our country,” he highlighted. .

The 13 people were detected when they were trying to board public transportation to the border with Costa Rica at the Albrook Terminal.

After the operation, Immigration carried out the respective procedure and proceeded to deport them.

The non-financial public sector reflects an accumulated deficit of $3,932.4 million as of September, according to a report from the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF).

This is equivalent to 4.75% of the nominal gross domestic product (GDP), estimated for 2023 at $82,721 million.

The deficit in public accounts occurs when income is not enough to cover the expenses incurred by the Government.

So far this year, and until the end of September, an increase in this trend was observed compared to the previous year. A year ago, in the same period, the deficit was $3,525.5 million.

This is a recurring theme for Panama, which has not stopped increasing expenses compared to its income, no matter how much is collected. Keeping track of this relationship is important to validate whether the Fiscal Social Responsibility Law is complied with, which aims to reduce fiscal deficit levels to contain the increase in public debt.

For the entire fiscal year 2023, the limit provided in the tax law is 3%.

According to the MEF report, signed by Minister Héctor Alexander and Vice Minister Carlos González, total income of $9,168.5 million was achieved until September, which is equivalent to an increase of $925.1 million or 11.2%.

But on the total expenses side, these reached $13,100.9 million, reflecting an increase of $1,332.0 million or 11.3% compared to the previous year.

it is important to consider that historically the bulk of the income, which is the annual contributions from the Panama Canal, comes in at the end of the year and this helps balance the accounts.

However, other elements have now come together that challenge the fiscal goals, such as the unanticipated economic losses as a result of the blockade of roads and avenues, in rejection of the mining contract, which would have an effect on the current income of the State at the end of the year. anus.

At the same time, the Canal is facing a severe drought and we will have to wait if its contributions will be for the amount originally planned. The ACP has said, until now, that the projection is maintained.

However, the three risk rating agencies have decreased their confidence in the Government’s ability to meet its financial commitments.

While the Cortizo administration used accounting creativity to comply with the tax law, the country faced high debt and an unsustainable size of the State.

For example, the MEF deferred the payment of $364 million in debt interest corresponding to the year 2022.

The measure resulted in lower interest expenses and contributed to balancing the accounts to close the year with a fiscal deficit from last year within 4% of GDP, as established by the Fiscal Social Responsibility Law.

In the case of the Fitch rating agency, its rating is just one level above the speculative grade, with a negative outlook, which means that it will most likely lower the rating in its next review. If Panama loses investment grade, the cost of interest for the State and individuals will increase.

Escorted by agents of the National Police (PN) , vehicles loaded with 25-pound cooking gas tanks arrived at dawn this Sunday, November 19, in Tierras Altas , Chiriquí, a region of the country that has been suffering a severe blockade for almost a month. .

Thousands of Highland residents had been queuing before the sun rose to get gas. The extensive queues snaked through the internal streets of the community.

The vehicles with the cargo were located in a vacant lot, under the custody and permanent surveillance of police agents.

The mayor of Tierras Altas, Javier Pittí, explained to La Prensa that almost a month after the closures and anti-mine protests, 500 gas tanks arrived in the community, including from the Panagas and Tropigas companies.

But, in less than 15 minutes they were all sold. More than a thousand families had to return to their homes with an empty gas tank.

Pittí then explained that thanks to the conversations held with the indigenous groups and teachers, who remain on the roads protesting and closing the vehicular passage in rejection of the mining contract, a staggered opening of the streets has been achieved allowing the arrival of gas for use. in cooking and also the output of horticultural products from the Tierras Altas district.


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