Monday 6th February 2023.

February 6, 2023


The Vice President of the Republic, José Gabriel Carrizo Jaén , officially launched himself into the political arena. This was announced by Carrizo himself in an act held by the ruling Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) in Penonomé, Coclé province. “Today I come to tell you, from the land of the Zaratí River, from the land of Cerro Guacamaya, from the land of the devotees of the Immaculate Virgin, that I will seek the PRD candidacy to become the next president of Panama,” Carrizo announced before thousands of supporters. From the Damas Unidas Penonomeñas club, Carrizo offered a long speech where he appealed to the members of the PRD to achieve victory in the upcoming internal elections. “Today I come to tell you that I need you all. I need everyone’s support,” said Carrizo, who last week resigned as Minister of the Presidency, precisely to compete in the PRD primaries, scheduled for next June. In his speech, Carrizo also mentioned the programs of this government as a backdrop to highlight his project to seek the presidential candidacy in the PRD. “It is a PRD government that has saved lives, that has rescued and expanded the national hospital network, the one that executed the most successful vaccination program in Latin America (Panavac)… that shakes hands with those who have less, like Panama in solidarity” , he detailed. Despite these government programs, the vice president of the country expressed that “there are still great obstacles to overcome to declare the historical debt with equity, equality, with the provision of opportunities for all, not just for a few.” “Panama needs and deserves to accompany economic growth with human development, we have demonstrated with facts that we have the capacity to turn that aspiration into reality,” he added. Carrizo also said that the PRD “is in a position” to continue the path of development with social justice, since “we will not leave the future of the country to chance.”

The Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture of Panama (Cciap) expressed this Sunday, about the “urgent” need for support of the owners of micro, small and medium-sized companies (Mipyme) in the country. According to this organization, this help is required on issues such as: training in soft skills for better business administration, definition of processes for the development of the value chain in the business, and efficient use of funds, among others. Through the Sunday column La Cámara Opina , the Cciap pointed out that one of the main challenges for MiPyMEs is obtaining funds for their operation. “During the pandemic, the National Government presented credit access plans that were made available to all companies. But, given the characteristics of this group, the requirements demanded by financial institutions are difficult to meet, resulting in a large number of them not being able to make effective use of the money,” the organization stressed in the letter where it recalled that 35% of its membership is part of this group. Thus, the representatives of these companies have raised the need to generate a program specifically for the financing of MiPyMEs, as well as the need for greater coordination between the institutions that must attend to their needs, the group highlighted. “As a union that represents the 15 main sectors of the Panamanian economy, we remain in the constant search for synergies, therefore, we have made a commitment to promote effective support for MiPyMEs, understanding that, to the extent that we direct efforts in this direction we contribute to the development of Panama and its people”, specified the Cciap.

At the national level, some 3,289 doses of the bivalent vaccine against covid-19 were applied on Saturday, on the first day of vaccination of these doses and which are aimed at the general population. A report from the Expanded Immunization Program (PAI) detailed that 1,550 doses were applied in the Panama metro region, followed by West Panama with 654, San Miguelito (471), Herrera (232), Darién 60 and North Panama (58). . In addition, 48 doses were placed in the Bocas del Toro region, Chiriquí (48), Colón (47), Coclé (42), East Panama (37) and Veraguas (36). The Ministry of Health (Minsa) reported that from this Monday, the vaccination day will continue in all health centers in the country, polyclinics of the Social Security Fund and in private hospitals. In addition, extramural inoculation days will be carried out at key points from Monday to Friday, such as the Panama Metro stations. According to Minsa, this new vaccine provides greater protection against the original strain and Ómicron. It should be remembered that the bivalent vaccine is administered from 12 years of age; the person must have at least two monovalent vaccines.

The Panamanian authorities seized 314 packages of cocaine hidden in a container that had France as its final destination after transit through Belgium, the Public Ministry reported this Sunday. The packages were found distributed in 9 hidden packages in a container in a port located in the province of Colón.Both the Prosecutor’s Office and the National Aeronaval Service (Senan) disseminated photographs of the packages on their social networks.

The guarantee judge, Yasmín Jaén, decreed precautionary measures of periodic reporting and impediment to leaving the country for 19 people, preventive detention and home detention for others who were charged with the alleged commission of the crime of money laundering as part of a criminal network that stole money from bank accounts in the amount of $742,000. The criminal network was dismantled by the section for Crimes against the Economic Order of the Public Ministry and the National Police, through Operation ‘Apate’, in November 2021. During the hearing – which culminated in the early hours of Friday – nine of the defendants reached a penalty agreement with the prosecutor’s office for which they must serve sentences of 60 and 48 months in prison, as well as return the money resulting from illegal activities. . In this case, the prosecutor’s office is investigating the possible connection of bank workers who provided the criminal network with information on the accounts that allowed transfers of large sums of money to the benefit of third parties.The investigation includes a businessman from the province of Colón to whom a large sum of money was supposedly transferred, as well as businessmen dedicated to the  sale of used cars, who received money transfers. During the raids carried out by the prosecution, the recovery of $14,000 in cash and electronic equipment allegedly used to access the victim’s bank accounts was achieved.

Investment in new residential and commercial construction projects registered double-digit growth during 2022, although the sector has not yet recovered to levels prior to the coronavirus (covid-19) respiratory pandemic. Data from the Comptroller General of the Republic indicates that, between January and December of last year, the cost of new projects, added to the investment for repairs and modifications, reached 918.8 million dollars. The figure exceeds the 722.6 million dollars reported in 2021 by 27%; specifically, an additional 196.2 million dollars were allocated in 2022. The figure far exceeds the estimate of the Panamanian Chamber of Construction (Capac), which was betting on annual growth between 8% and 10%. Construction and tourism were the sectors most affected by the mobility restrictions that the Government kept in force for eight months in 2020, to limit the spread of the respiratory virus. In the case of construction, a sector that in 2019 contributed 14% of the gross domestic product (GDP), registered a 51% drop in 2020. In 2022, 68.4% of the investment was allocated to residential projects, with 628.4 million dollars, while the remaining 31%, 290.3 million dollars, was used in the construction and improvements in warehouses, offices and commercial areas. Although the largest volume of money was spent on residential projects, the commercial segment registered the highest annual growth in 2022, with an increase of 41% compared to the data for 2021, doubling the increase in investment in housing complexes. Capac spokespersons indicated that in recent years, investment in commercial and storage projects has been depressed, due to the economic contraction resulting from the coronavirus pandemic.



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