Monday 24th April 2023
April 23, 2023
A few days before the transfer of command of the board of directors of the Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture of Panama (Cciap), the outgoing president Marcela Galindo, said that they reaffirm the institutional commitment to promote, connect and defend private companies as the undisputed engine of the country’s economy, but above all its historical commitment to ensure the best national interests.
“Being empathetic with the needs that the population is going through, we reiterate the need for austerity, transparency and accountability on the part of the National Government, to achieve a significant impact in attention to citizen claims,” Galindo said in the text of La Cámara Opina .
The outgoing president of the Cciap expressed that for 108 years the Chamber has been a key actor in national life, maintaining its commitment to contribute to the development of Panamanians through free enterprise, as a fundamental component of life in democracy.
They indicate that democracy is not possible if citizens are not capable of undertaking, creating jobs, producing well-being and prosperity for their collaborators and, consequently, for the families and communities of which they are a part.
They reaffirmed the need to promote joint work with the different players in society and through dialogue to provide answers to the great difficulties facing the country.
Marcela Galindo described that during her tenure in front of the organization, the union has been addressing relevant issues such as economic reactivation and jobs.
They have also analyzed other issues such as the debate that has been presented on tax incentives for tourism, national protests, price control decrees, containment of public spending, situation of the Social Security Fund, respect for democratic institutions, state of public infrastructure at the national level, discriminatory lists, mining contract, extinction of domain, payments to State suppliers, administration of justice, support for MiPyMES, municipal taxes and gender equality, among others.
“This year we have participated from the beginning in the Great National Alliance for Panama, where hundreds of productive, business, educational and community organizations have joined at the national level; since the solution involves the sum of efforts”, she highlighted about the #MiEmpresaEsPanama initiative.
She indicated that in a few months they will start the Country Agenda 2024-2029 project in which they hope to analyze the main concerns of the Panamanian. “We will formulate recommendations that we will share with the teams of the candidates for the presidency of the Republic, which will be the basis of the Presidential Debate in April 2024, seeking their commitment to address these issues in a responsible and sustainable manner.”
The Panama Savings Fund (FAP) registered a gross profit of $47 million or a return of 3.56% in the first quarter of the year, according to the entity in a recent report .
The rebound is explained by the behavior of the capital markets in the period, encouraged by the moderation of inflation in the United States, which favored the valuation of the assets in which the FAP is invested.
Thus, fixed income titles or bonds generated returns in the quarter of 2.88%, while the result of the shares was a return of 7.44%.
Abdiel Santiago, technical secretary of the FAP, commented that the market tends to think that the US Federal Reserve (Fed) could begin to reduce interest rates in the second half of the year. This has favorably moved the valuations of bonds and shares, which is reflected in the results of the FAP at the end of the first quarter.
However, Santiago points out that the Fed has indicated that its objective is to reduce inflation to a level closer to 2%, something that has not yet happened, and that there will be no reduction in interest rates until inflation is closer to the 2%. aim.
Asked about the relationship between the evolution of interest rates and the performance of shares, the financier Roberto González Milá de la Roca maintained that, among other reasons, “it is a matter of the cost of money.” If there is an expectation that interest rates will moderate, this will make credit less expensive and therefore improve expectations for economic growth, which is favorable for companies, he explained.
The 20 volumes of investigation that the Drug Prosecutor’s Office has carried out up to now on Operation PTY , in which a network allegedly dedicated to money laundering was dismantled, revealed that, to legitimize drug money, the group used small businesses such as beauty shops, cevicherías, taxi services, interior decoration and home remodeling.
Such is the case of Ezequiel Alarcón (alias Zequi), accused by the prosecution of being one of the leaders of the criminal network along with Jorge A. Zurita, a man who has not yet been arrested. According to the investigation, Zequi justifies his income with an interior decoration and home remodeling business, activities that generated about $5,000 a month.
However, $5,000 a month is not enough to afford renting an apartment in The Reserve, in the exclusive area of Santa María, in Costa del Este, which has a sale price of more than $700,000. It was there that they captured him in the company of a woman, last Wednesday morning.
In addition, according to investigations by the Drug Prosecutor’s Office, through a group of front men, the leaders of the criminal network had acquired an apartment worth $400,000 in Costa Esmeralda, San Carlos, and a residence in Capirita, in the Valle de Antón, valued at $70 thousand.
The proceedings date back to March 2022, when the prosecution received the first reports of the activities of the alleged criminal network. To move money from drug-related activities, the organization would have used a group of people to open companies and acquire real estate and vehicles.
This was the case with the activist of the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD), Caridad Milagros Hurtado Almengor (known as Caridad Kanelón), whom the prosecution attributes to having used the Mujeres Bellas aesthetic, in which beauty packages were offered to women and plastic surgeries in Colombia, as a front for money laundering.
The investigation also points to her sister Jazmín Almengor and mother Josefa Almengor, 72, to whom the judge of guarantees granted a precautionary measure of house arrest.
In the case of Jazmín, she allegedly also had a beauty salon and received money from Jorge Zurita. With these funds, she would have acquired a residence in Nueva Gorgona for $85,000, and an apartment in Villa Lorena that cost $19,000.
In the districts of Chilibre and Las Cumbres , residents have more questions than answers about the million-dollar project that the Municipality of Panama has been developing for years , known as Parque Norte.
This work began in the last administration (2014-2019), when the mayor was José Isabel Blandón , on a 20-hectare piece of land in the community of San Vicente, Chilibre corregimiento, at a cost of $17 million. Blandón finished his term on June 30, 2019 and during the administration of the current mayor, José Luis Fábrega, the work did not report any progress.
Initially, Fábrega tried to transfer the public space to the Ministry of Education , but the entity rejected the proposal. However, this year the mayor reported that he signed an agreement with the Social Security Fund (CSS ) to install a “local hospital” on the perimeters of Parque Norte.
Regarding the same project, this year the Comptroller General of the Republic approved two addenda: one for the extension of the works until 2024 and another addendum for the assignment of the contract to a new company, Constructora Churube . As will be remembered, this project was awarded in 2016, to the Grupo Parque Norte consortium.
All this has generated discomfort among residents of the area, since there was no consultation at the time these decisions were made.
Starting last Saturday April 22, 95-octane gasoline is being sold without a subsidy, as the Government ordered a few weeks ago.
91 octane gasoline and low sulfur diesel are maintained with this subsidy. That is, it sells for 3.25 a gallon. This measure will only be until May 31.
Drivers who fill their vehicles with 95 octane have had to buy it since Saturday at the market price: $1.17 a liter or $4.44 a gallon.
But the Secretary of Energy, Jorge Rivera Staff, recommended that those who use 95 octane use 91.
“From the point of view of the manufacturers (of vehicles) there is no incidence in the change of the type of fuel in their engine,” the official explained this week.
He added that “there are no limitations so that a vehicle that uses 95 cannot use 91 gasoline. That is why the scheme is maintained. It is an alternative that the Government presents to consumers”.
Since July 2022, after protests by various social movements, fuel prices have been set at $3.25 a gallon and the State assumes the difference before the dispatching companies.