Monday 29th August 2022.

August 29, 2022

The Archbishop of Panama, José Domingo Ulloa , reiterated that the first stage of the so-called single dialogue table that takes place in Penonomé, province of Coclé, is already in its completion. In this first stage “we knew that to keep it with the primary actors we would receive criticism from some sectors, even criticism from some actors at the table and that is good,” Ulloa said at Sunday mass. He added that the “discomfort” of the different actors has been seen at the table, which “gives us the security that, in the midst of our poverty and reality, we are doing what we have to do.” Ulloa recalled that the role of the Catholic Church as facilitator of the dialogue was assumed with the conviction that “we prefer a Church that is injured by going out rather than sick by staying locked up.” The archbishop also said that it has been the will of the alliances, the social movement, and the Executive that is allowing agreements to be reached “that must be fulfilled and honored for the good of our people”, mainly those who need them most. . “Here there are no winners or losers, but only one winner and that winner is Panama,” he emphasized. On Saturday night, the single dialogue table for Panama closed the session without making progress in the discussion of the last item on the agenda, which is related to the creation of an intersectoral and follow-up table. Although the representatives of the parties have agreed on some ideas, such as proposing the incorporation of the business sector in the intersectoral table, they did not find common points on the issues that would be analyzed. The debate stalled as there was no understanding of the issues that would be addressed in a second phase. Both the Executive and the groups sitting at the table agreed to resume talks on September 2.

The Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture of Panama (Cciap) insisted this Sunday, that the national urgency must be the creation of jobs in the private sector and the promotion of formal entrepreneurship through an adequate framework. for business development. According to the Cciap, all this must be accompanied by study plans focused on preparing a qualified workforce to meet the needs of the labor market, so that people have the ability to access positions that allow their growth and professional development, and at the same time improve their living conditions and that of their families. “If 7 out of 10 Panamanians work for micro, small and medium-sized companies, it is necessary that we resume actions that allow strengthening the development of these companies, such as plans that facilitate access to credit, and development of programs that promote the hiring of personnel. part-time, among others”, stated the organization in its Sunday column La Cámara Opina . The group stressed that the private sector is called to be the country’s great employer, generating a virtuous circle in the employer-collaborator relationship: encouraging the strengthening of companies, promoting private investment, coupled with the constant formation of human capital. This would be the path that “leads us to regain the confidence of local and foreign investors, who look to Panama as a safe port for their capital, thus achieving the generation of more decent jobs,” said the Cciap. “It is evident that the National Government has to reevaluate and take measures that do not put more pressure on finances, that avoid deepening uncertainty and rebuild confidence, a key piece to encourage investment and job creation, supporting the creation of opportunities for through public policies that translate into a better quality of life”, he emphasized.

The financial reserves of the exclusively defined benefit subsystem for Disability, Old Age and Death (IVM) had a resounding fall of 814.63 million dollars in one year. These savings, used to pay pensions when income is not enough, went from $2,226 million to $1,411 million between March 2021 and March 2022, according to a report on the situation of the programs administered by the Social Security Fund (CSS). After evaluating the aforementioned report, the financier of the board of directors, Gonzalo Ramírez de la Rosa, issued his opinion regarding what is happening. On July 25, he sent a letter to the president of the CSS board of directors, Aida Michelle Ureña de Maduro, in which he said he was concerned that the IVM reserve had to be used to deal with 2022 deficits. His concern lies in the “decapitalization” of the institution and the adverse impact that the situation is having on finances. He considers that a presentation should be made to the Investment and Risk Commission and the board of directors, showing the cash flow and the estimate of income and expenses, especially in pensions, to be incurred in the coming months. The Illness and Maternity and Professional Risks programs also registered a decrease in their reserves.

With a portfolio of 80 million dollars available for financing, Banistmo is the first bank in the country to offer loans to tourism companies as part of the agreement signed by the Tourism Authority of Panama with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) . During the tourism forum held by the Panamanian Association of Business Executives (Apede), Daniel Arevalo, IDB investment officer, commented that the credits will be used to strengthen the operation of hotels, agencies, tour operators and entertainment companies , among others that participate in the tourist activity. He pointed out that the idea is to support companies to complete the transition between the drop in demand due to the respiratory pandemic of the coronavirus (covid-19) and the recovery with the arrival of more visitors. The agreement between the IDB and the ATP reaches 300 million dollars for a period of 10 years. The IDB executive pointed out that the financing will range from 5 thousand dollars, with the aim of supporting the operation of the companies, after the local bank closed financing to the sector due to the health crisis. Arevalo commented that they are already holding talks with other banking entities so that they can also offer loans to the tourism sector. Access to quick financing during the pandemic was one of the requests of the unions, after the tourism sector lost more than 5 billion dollars in 2020. In 2019, before falling due to the pandemic, the travel and tourism industry represented 15.6% of the country’s gross domestic product. This program joins the 100 million dollars that the IDB had approved before covid-19 to Panama, to improve the tourist infrastructure in the main destinations such as Bocas del Toro, Pedasí, Taboga, Boquete and Tierras Altas, among others.

The announcement by the Ministry of Public Works (MOP) of the commissioning of a future coastal highway that connects the province of Panama with the interior of the country, called the attention of environmentalists and road specialists, especially by the impacts that the work and its financing would have. At the moment, the known details of the road project were released by the Minister of Public Works, Rafael Sabonge , who specified that the waterfront would start from the Panama Pacifico area, in Arraiján, until it reaches Loma Campana, in Capira. . The cost of the work would be $517 million and it would be tendered in the “next few weeks” through the Public Private Partnership (APP) regime. In addition, those who try to use the road will have to pay a toll, as happens on the corridors. Sabonge defined this route as an “alternative road” to the beach corridor, a project that was reduced and resumed this week. It is a work that generates expectations and questions among environmentalists and specialists in the road issue, given the possible layout of the route and the impacts it would cause to protected areas, mangroves and coasts of the areas through which it would pass.

The theft of $748,000 from the Calidonia branch of the National Bank of Panama (BNP) , according to the authorities, required technique and sophistication. For this reason, the Anticorruption Prosecutor of the Public Ministry, which is handling the case, examines the security protocol of the BNP to determine if it is in accordance with the security procedures that a bank must have. The information was released by the attorney in charge Javier Caraballo, who assured that this is a ” complex investigation ” and explained that ” the groups that are dedicated to this type of criminal behavior have become more technical .” Caraballo added that the investigation is going “at a good pace .” Something similar was said by the director of the National Police, John Dornheim, who assured that there is a “ very strong ” line of investigation. However, despite the optimism of Caraballo and Dornheim, so far no one has been apprehended, despite the fact that the incident was occoured on August 15

28 young Israeli volunteers belonging to the non-governmental organization Heroes for Life started social work in Panama on August 28.  The volunteers visited the San Ramón building, located on Calle M in San Miguel (Calidonia district), where they painted, drew and posted inspiring messages, together with local residents. Israel’s ambassador to Panama, Itai Bardov, said that these volunteers, as well as members of the Jewish community in the country, seek to offer their help to both residents of communities and schools in the country. He added that these Israeli volunteers will visit six official schools in the district of Panama and San Miguelito in the coming days. In the activity carried out in San Miguel were also members of the youth movement of the Macabi Jewish community and the Isaac Rabin school. Heroes for Life, made up of young people who have left the army, is a non-profit NGO that carries out volunteer projects around the world.  The social mission in Panama will last until September 8.

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