Monday 21st November 2022.

November 21, 2022


The President of the Republic, Laurentino Cortizo, received a document of more than 15 pages in which are reflected -in detail- the serious problems of the Social Security Fund (CSS), its administration and the pension system, with one of its components on the verge of bankruptcy. The document delivered by the National Council of Private Enterprise (Conep) reflects the analysis and opinions of actuaries, doctors, financiers and members of the current board of directors of the CSS regarding the debacle of the exclusively defined benefit subsystem Disability, Old Age and Death (IVM) and the administrative decomposition that drags the institution. By making a kind of diagnosis, they also offered solutions. José Barrios Ng, former deputy administrator of the Panama Canal Authority (ACP), indicated that one of the priorities is to modify the organic law of the CSS and appoint notable people to the board of directors who adhere to the regulations. The second thing is that the institution is auditable, that it has external auditors and that it is responsible for the assigned resources. You must also have robust, well-formulated budgets. “If we intend to make changes to the CSS with the current structure, there will be very little that can be done in terms of governance,” he stated. “The CSS is an institution created in the last century [in 1941] and continues today to operate with the same structures, with the same board of directors, with the same processes as 80 years ago. This must change because the world has changed,” Ng said. His words are gaining strength now that the date on which the reserves of the exclusively defined benefit subsystem will end is approaching, in 2024. The document delivered to Cortizo also warns and mentions the Conep proposal, which is based on a pillar structure, with a first non-contributory solidarity segment, while the others are based on the individual savings of each contributor. They asked Cortizo to face the crisis and the deficit of the IVM with determination, under a rational debate, free of ideological and political passions, and always with the interest of generating a sustainable situation. The cards are on his side.

The multimillion-dollar seafood market, in the township of Calidonia, flagship project of the mayor of the district of Panama, José Luis Fábrega, continues to be involved in controversy. On October 25, the Administration Attorney, Rigoberto González, requested that the resolution of the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) be declared “illegal”, by means of which several Fincas on the coastal strip were transferred to the Mayor’s Office of Panama, for the construction and development of the new seafood market, at a cost of $43 million. González delivered his opinion, in writing, to the Supreme Court of Justice (CSJ), as part of the contentious-administrative lawsuit filed by the forensic firm Bufete De Sanctis, on behalf of former vice mayor Raisa Banfield and other citizens such as Carlos Eduardo Varela, Luis Eduardo Alfaro and Angélica Maytín, the latter former director of the National Authority for Transparency and Access to Information. Despite what was stated by the Administration attorney in his note, dated September 28, lawyer José Alejandro Quiodettis, representing the Municipality of Panama, requested the Court to annul the provisional suspension that weighs on the MEF resolution. The Municipality’s lawyer argued that the transfer of the farms does not require citizen consultation, as “erroneously” has been interpreted in the lawsuit.

For ignoring the application of the “principle of the best interests of the minor” when issuing an opinion in the family case related to Adolfo Chichi De Obarrio, the Public Ministry opened a disciplinary proceeding against a circuit prosecutor of the Superior Prosecutor for Civil Affairs, Agrarian and Family. The MP communicated this decision through his account on the social network Twitter, but did not report the name of the prosecutor. In addition, the MP made it clear that ” the opinion expressed by the prosecutor does not represent the criteria of this institution, which has made enormous efforts so that the pre-named person is brought to our country and faces justice .” He recalled that De Obarrio, former private secretary of former President Ricardo Martinelli (2009-2014), is a “person who maintains current criminal proceedings in the Republic of Panama and is being required by the competent authorities .” In some of these processes, De Obarrio has even been declared “in absentia.” The appeal to trial occurs at a time when the ex-partner is facing custody of their minor daughter. Barsallo said this week that Judge Matilde Sánchez, of the First Court for Children and Adolescents, ordered that the girl be handed over to De Obarrio, in Italy, as part of the international restitution process promoted by the latter. In an interview with journalist Álvaro Alvarado, Barsallo said that the prosecutor had opined in favor of De Obarrio’s claim, which led to the decision of the Public Ministry to initiate a disciplinary process against the official.

Through Law 337 of 14th November, extraordinary payment agreements are established in acts dictated by the General Directorate of Revenue (DGI) as a temporary measure to boost collection, articles of Law 76/2019 (Code of Tax Procedure) and other provisions are issued. Law 337/2022 includes an interesting and important administrative procedure, tending to reduce the existing fiscal deadlock and seeks to increase tax collection. All of the above, within a procedure called extraordinary payment agreement, which concludes with a transaction document and in which any taxpayer whose unique taxpayer registry is in force, who is not investigated or convicted of tax evasion or fraud, can participate, starting the process with a request from the taxpayer that must be submitted before 31st December and obligations that exceed the amount of 50 thousand Dollars only considering the nominal value.The transaction consists of an agreement that is negotiated and signed by the Treasury with the taxpayer, aimed at reaching a commitment for both parties in relation to the requirement of the tax debt  that is claimed by the Tax Administration and for the alleged non-payment of a tax under its jurisdiction.

A man was murdered on the night of Saturday, November 19, 2022, on 12 October  Avenue, Panama City. According to preliminary reports, two men fired several shots at another, approximately 24 years old, who was injured. The latter was transferred to a hospital to receive medical attention, but his death was later reported. According to the National Police, this person had a criminal record. So far no arrests have been made for this event. Deputy Commissioner Jaime Toledo, head of the San Francisco Police Zone, said that operations are being carried out in the sectors of Pueblo Nuevo, Río Abajo and Parque Lefevre to find the alleged suspects.

For the first time in the history of archery, Panama will participate with a full team of 12 archers in the XXVI Pan American Archery Championship, which will take place from November 21 to 27 in Chile, fulfilling one of the main objectives of the work of the National Archery Association, led by Luis Barría.The Panamanian team is a mix of experience and youth, which is led by coach Gary Hernández.



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