Thursday 11th January 2024.

January 10, 2024


The minimum wage in Panama will increase 4.5% for small and medium-sized companies and 6% for large companies, while a 7% increase is established for companies in the banana sector.

The Minister of Labor and Labor Development, Doris Zapata, reported that all economic variables were taken to make this announcement to the country.

Zapata explained that the average minimum wage will be $636.80 and a maximum of $1,015.03 for some sectors, such as aeronautical technicians.

While the lowest rate is $341.12 for small and medium-sized businesses in the agricultural and livestock sector.

Zapata reported that the increase will take effect on January 16 and will be paid on the last of this month. 53 wage rates apply for 73 economic activities, he specified, and will be in force between 2024 and all of 2025.

It must be remembered that the National Minimum Wage Commission was established on August 30, 2023, in which for four months employers and workers – with the mediation of Mitradel – met to analyze the economic scenarios and thus establish the minimum remuneration.

However, in December when the last meeting was held, the Minister of Labor confirmed that consensus had not been achieved between employers and workers, so the Executive proceeded to establish the salary that will govern for the years 2024 and 2025.

The Minister of the Environment, Milciades Concepción , could not support the judge of the Supreme Court of Justice, Olmedo Arrocha , why there are no inspection reports from Miambiente to Minera Panamá between 2022 and 2023, just when the Government and the company were negotiating a new contract-law that, after its signing, was considered unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

In a note dated November 7, Arrocha – as the judge handling the unconstitutionality claim against the already repealed Law 406 of 2023 – requested from Concepción, among other things, the “log by date of the monitoring and compliance efforts.” ” carried out by Miambiente to verify compliance with the environmental impact study (EIA), approved in 2011 in favor of Minera Panamá’s Donoso project.

According to the log provided by the entity to the Court, the record of Miambiente’s inspections of the mining company lasted until August 2021. For that same month, La Prensa had also requested complete reports from Miambiente, but it did not provide them either.

This medium asked the minister about the pending inspections, despite the multiple findings of non-compliance in the recent past, but silence prevailed.

In the Ministry of the Environment (Miambiente) there are no records of inspections between 2022 and 2023 at Cobre Panamá , despite recurring findings of possible environmental damage in the areas surrounding the mining project and in the work area. Since last November, La Prensa requested these reports from Minister Concepción, but they have not been delivered.

Miambiente reports from 2011 to 2021 describe possible worrying environmental non-compliance in the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor , which, however, would have been ignored by the Cabinet Council when approving a new contract with Minera Panamá last June. The Supreme Court of Justice declared the contract (adopted through Law 406 of 2023) unconstitutional at the end of last November.

Minera Panamá reported this Wednesday, , that it will present a preliminary draft for the initial phase of the preservation and safe management plan for the Donoso mine, province of Colón, as part of the project closure process.

In a statement, the subsidiary company of First Quantum Minerals explained that the plan will be delivered within the period of 10 business days requested by the Ministry of Commerce and Industries (Mici) on December 29, 2023.

Compliance judge James Corró decreed non-compliance by the Odebrecht company with the payments corresponding to the year 2023, which are part of the $220 million fine agreed in 2017, for the payment of bribes to obtain contracts with the State.

In a hearing that began this Wednesday, January 10, at 10:45 am, prosecutor Johaira González , from the Compliance Prosecutor’s Office, assured that Odebrecht failed to pay the annual fee for 2023, which is for the sum of $18.33 million, plus the payment of $916,666, which corresponds to 5% of the interest for late payment.

Prosecutor González alleged that the entire amount of the fine not paid in 2023 amounts to $19 million 249 thousand and that the company must find a way to catch up.

To date, Odebrecht has only paid $71.35 million of the $220 million fine applied by the Second Liquidation Court for Criminal Cases. For Odebrecht bribes, 25 people, including former presidents Ricardo Martinelli (2009-2014) and Juan Carlos Varela (2014-2019) , accused of alleged money laundering, will be tried from July 15 to August 23, 2024.

Since 2019, the Brazilian company Odebrecht has been behind in payments of the $220 million fine that was imposed by a court as a result of its connection with the payment of bribes to officials to obtain infrastructure works.

Therefore, the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office has asked compliance judges to order the withholding of payments to public companies that maintain contracts with that construction company and that said funds be paid towards the payment of the fine.

The former governor of Coclé, Richard Fifer, was sent to Tinajitas prison to serve a 120-month prison sentence for the crime of aggravated fraud against the company Red Dragon Capital Management.

Sources close to the process revealed that Fifer was transferred to the Tinajitas Resocialization Center for meeting the necessary criteria to participate in social rehabilitation programs carried out in said penitentiary center.

According to resolution No. 1954-DGSP-DAL of August 24, 2023, the Directorate of the Penitentiary System determined that Tinajitas, in addition to being a temporary detention center, could also house inmates who were serving sentences, as long as they complied with the profile required to participate in social reintegration processes.

Fifer was arrested last Saturday, January 6, at a police checkpoint in Costa Rica, approximately 50 kilometers from the border with Panama.

At the time of his arrest, Fifer claimed to be a US citizen and showed his passport to Costa Rican authorities.

However, upon presenting the Panama exit stamp, he was returned to the Paso Canoas border post and handed over to agents of the National Border Service (Senafront), where it was verified that he had an arrest warrant issued by the First Case Liquidation Court. Penalties.

On January 24, the former governor must face a trial for the alleged commission of the crime of illegal withholding of worker-employer fees.

The felling of trees on East 53rd Street, Marbella , Bella Vista district , shows a series of contradictions in the decision adopted by the Mayor’s Office of Panama , led by José Luis Fábrega .

The Mayor’s Office of Panama , through a press release, justified the logging under the argument of guaranteeing the safety of pedestrians.

Furthermore, it alleges that in a phytosanitary inspection and analysis of the growth of the roots of the trees located parallel to the sidewalk, it was determined that their removal was necessary, because they did not have enough space for their development and they considerably affected traffic on the sidewalks. .

However, during a visit by this media to the place, it was observed that the roots of these trees of the Lluvia de Oro species – Cassia Fistula -, which can reach between 8 to 10 meters in height, were not affecting the sidewalk to any great extent. magnitude. A few steps away is an advertising mupi.

Xochilt Troncoso , architect and president of the Urban Citizen Network of Panama , an organization that brings together several communities in the district of Panama, stated that once again Mayor Fábrega demonstrates his contempt for pedestrians, citizens and the city.

“When many cities in the world have understood and applied knowledge to improve the city, this local government administration, on the contrary, in each of its actions, creates more problems for us. The result is that there is no coherence in the pyramid of urban circulation priorities [urban mobility pyramid], the absence of architectural, urban and environmental landscaping to create quality spaces. We do not have changes for the better, but more detriment in public spaces,” he stated.

The former director of Environmental Management of the Mayor’s Office of Panama , Ennio Arcia , recommended to the authorities that the technical report that Fábrega invokes to cut down the trees in Marbella be published.

Arcia shared in X that the damage to the sidewalk was minor and that probably the greatest damage is to the drainage.

The urban architect and university professor , Alberto Arosemena , explained that the Cañafístula species or simply Casia Fístula was planted in Panama City in the 1940s, specifically in the La Expósito neighborhood, and in a part of East 53rd Street. of Obarrio in the late 1970s or early 1980s, in the easement area.

He explained that the root system is semi-deep to deep, which is why it is excellent to be planted in avenues, parking lots and within public easements, since its roots, being deep, do not damage sidewalks. Its growth is normal, with a globose crown, which allows light filtration, projecting a semi-shade on the sidewalks where pedestrians walk daily. Its fragility is of medium degree.

In Arosemena’s opinion, it does not make sense to carry out this felling and he considered that residents, garden clubs and national nurseries should be invited to donate about 10 seedlings of the same species. This would avoid altering the appearance of the urban landscape of this vehicular artery. In addition, it is proposed to proceed with the planting where the trees were that were cut down without any technical and scientific basis or support, with a view to planning this city as an integrated system of green areas, where trees and man are in first order.


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