Monday 5th December 2022.

December 5, 2022



A mission from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is in Panama to review the country’s economic situation and learn about the recovery process, after the health crisis caused by the confinement imposed by the Government to stop the pandemic. Last October, the IMF had updated its growth projections for Panama in 2022, leaving an estimate of 7% the expansion of the gross domestic product (GDP). This calculation represented a decrease compared to the 7.5% estimated last April by the agency. Now that the IMF representatives are in Panama, they met with the Minister of Economy and Finance, Héctor Alexander, who led the work team made up of the Vice Minister of Economy, Enelda Medrano de González, the Vice Minister of Finance, Jorge Luis Almengor and directors of the institution. “This is a very important visit, because we will receive the review that the IMF does annually on Panama, based on its Article IV, for which it has a group of economists who mainly attend the Central American and Caribbean region” said the Vice Minister of Finance, Jorge Luis Almengor, through a note from the entity.

The latest note from the Moody’s agency to the Panamanian economy affected the rating of four state companies, whose outlook went from stable to negative. Last October, Moody’s affirmed Panama’s long-term issuer and senior unsecured debt ratings at Baa2, but warned that the lack of funds in the Caja del Seguro ‘s IVM pension program, may affect the country’s ability to obtain new financing. Moody’s said that the lack of reforms in the CSS denotes weaknesses in policy management and represents a factor that, if not corrected, will materially undermine  Panama’s credit profile and negatively affect the sovereign credit outlook. This concern led the rating agency to change its outlook on Tocumen International Airport, the Panama Canal Authority (ACP), the Electric Transmission Company (Etesa) and the National Highway Company  (ENA) from stable to negative.

The Tribunal Electoral (TE) held on the morning of this Sunday, at its headquarters in Ancón, a meeting to establish the order of review of the videos of the support signatures of the pre-candidates for free application identified as voidable or suspicious. . Faced with complaints of irregularities, the TE magistrates were forced to suspend the app that allows them to collect signatures through video calls on October 25 and filed three complaints with the Electoral Attorney General’s Office for the possible commission of electoral computer crimes related to impersonation of identity in digital procedures and manipulation of digital media with the purpose of affecting the integrity of the electoral process. In addition, an audit was ordered, which ultimately was carried out by the institution itself.The digital tool was reactivated on November 22 and some pre-candidates were denied its use. But in a meeting held on Friday, December 2, between a group of pre-candidates  and magistrates Alfredo Juncá, Eduardo Valdés and Luis Guerra, it was agreed that everyone will be able to use the tool, which will be subject to review and investigation by some supporting firms. qualified as voidable after the audit. That was the reason why the draw was made this Sunday.

The Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture of Panama (Cciap) stressed that the country has not yet managed to recover the employment indicators, with unemployment and informality figures which, in its latest measurement, are at 9.9% and 48.2%, respectively. For this reason, through its Sunday column La Cámara Opina , the chamber urged the population to purchase local products during this month of December, characterized by its great commercial movement. This, due to the celebrations of Mother’s Day, Christmas and New Year, festivities that “translate into the generation of jobs, whether permanent or eventual”, highlighted the Cciap. Thus, the organization announced that this December 6 the Commercial Exhibition “#MyCompanyIsPanamá: In these Holidays #BuyLocal” will be held, with the aim of promoting the products and services of both entrepreneurs and small and medium-sized entrepreneurs established in Panama . “The decision of each one of the consumers to make local purchases will have a positive impact on the national economy; it will support producers, artisans, entrepreneurs and merchants; as well as, in the development of thousands of local professionals”, he stated.

The increase in cases of covid-19 in the most populated regions of Panama has been observed in recent weeks. In San Miguelito there were, until last Wednesday, 1,122 active cases, which represents a 78% increase in cases compared to the previous week, when 628 infections were registered. The regional director of Health of San Miguelito, Yaritzel Ríos, reported that this week in the health centers and in the swab post located in Metro Mall, 543 antigen tests have been carried out, of which 210 have tested positive. While a report from the metropolitan health region states that, until November 30, there were 1,992 active cases. In addition, there are 87 hospitalized patients, of which 82 are in the wards and five in intensive care units. The largest number of active cases is in the corregimientos of San Francisco (323), Bella Vista (250) and Juan Díaz (232). The director of the metropolitan region, Israel Cedeño, stated that this is an “expected behavior” that the country will have every year. “All endemic diseases have periods of increased cases, for example, the flu,” he said. In the words of Cedeño, everything indicates that the waves of covid-19 will occur between November and January. “The message is that you have to take care of yourself. Also, that the vaccine decreases the risk of serious disease, but not contagion, ”he added. For one more year, the Ministry of the Environment extended the resolution that provisionally suspends the granting of special permits for subsistence forest use and its modalities, as well as community permits and concessions in tropical forests, for a term of no more than one year. . This is Resolution 201 of November 24, 2022, which was published last Friday in the Official Gazette . The document mentions, for example, that during the suspension between 2021 and 2022, the country’s forest cover map was prepared and approved, as well as the cartographic location of the areas most affected by deforestation. It also indicates that it was imperative that the Ministry of the Environment implement all the necessary measures and actions to stop the loss of forest cover that impacts the entire world and the threats that are faced due to the expansion of agricultural activity and illegal logging. A report from the Ministry of the Environment revealed that between 2012 and 2019, 8,000 hectares of forests were deforested per year. The largest affected provinces are Veraguas, Panama and Darién, although the entity reported that after the suspension of logging permits, the problem decreased.

Athletes with and without disabilities participated this Sunday, December 4, 2022, in the race-walk carried out on the coastal strip, within the framework of the international day of persons with disabilities. The activity included 5 km categories, 5 km for people with visual disabilities, 1 km for people with visceral disabilities and 5 km for 4 categories for injuries to people in wheelchairs. The race-walk “for Friendship” was organized by the Best Buddies Panama Association and more than 2,000 people participated in it, it was reported. The International Day of Persons with Disabilities was declared in 1992 by the United Nations General Assembly through resolution 47/3. The objective of the date is to promote the rights and well-being of people with disabilities in all spheres of society and development, as well as to raise awareness about their situation in all aspects of political, social, economic and cultural life.

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