Thursday 27th June 2024.

June 26, 2024


The Attorney General of the Administration, Rigoberto González , stated that it is not legally viable for the members of the boards of directors of public companies to authorize mutual agreements contrary to the provisions contained in the law, referring to the compensation reached by at least six managers and executives. of the state-owned Electric Transmission Company, SA (Etesa) .

In an opinion sent to the Minister of Commerce and Industries and president of the board of directors of Etesa, Jorge Rivera Staff , the attorney recalled that article 1 of Law 24 of 2014 (which regulates the term of officials of public institutions), indicates that those who are appointed heads, managers, directors or administrators of autonomous and semi-autonomous public entities and state companies, they will do so for a period of five years, concurrent with the presidential term.

Therefore, they will not be entitled to severance pay.

For González, the general managers and other members of the senior management of these companies have the character of officials governed by administrative law and are not called upon to maintain an employment relationship for an indefinite period framed in the Labor Code.

In this sense, it details that those who are going to occupy these positions in a state company must be linked to it through an administrative act for a fixed period, through a takeover.

González also requests that Minister Rivera Staff send him in peremptory time an authenticated copy of the employment contract and the agreements to terminate the employment relationship, signed with the members of senior management, directors and bosses of Etesa.

The query arises after last Friday it became known that the general manager of Etesa, Carlos Mosquera , will receive compensation of $249,195. Mosquera already receives a juicy salary: $14,315, more than double what the President of the Republic, ministers and deputies earn.

Assistant manager Óscar Rendoll also agreed to a mutual agreement, in his case, of $306,615.

In addition to Mosquera and Rendoll, four other Etesa executives are awaiting compensation by mutual agreement. Between the six of them, they represent an expense of almost a million dollars. Members of the Union of Electrical and Similar Industry Workers of the Republic of Panama (Sitiespa) have pointed out that these compensations by mutual agreement are illegal, since they are not governed by the rules contained within the Labor Code. The benefits agreed in the Collective Agreement are not applicable either. In fact, they highlighted that Mosquera does not even pay union dues.

The elected president, José Raúl Mulino , has made a series of appointments to different positions, despite the fact that these are duly regulated by law and can only be replaced under certain conditions.

On June 25, Mulino appointed José Pablo Ramos as general manager of Merca Panama, through direct means. However, Chapter IV of Law 90 of November 7, 2013, on the Cold Chain, establishes the selection guidelines for this position.

The rule explains that the “ cold chain will have a general manager appointed by the President of the Republic, from a short list presented by the board of directors, and will hold office for a period of seven years .”

Ranth Berard , current manager of Merca Panama, who was selected through a shortlist and unanimously ratified in the National Assembly in 2020, would end his position in 2027.

Berard could be replaced if he resigns or if he is removed from his position for serious administrative misconduct or failure to comply with any rule or decision adopted by the board of directors. Neither of these two variants has been known to have occurred.

Mulino appointed Roy Morales as general manager of the Electric Transmission Company (Etesa) .

But according to article 19 of Etesa’s organic law, the board of directors is the one that will appoint or may remove the general manager and the internal auditor, through the favorable vote of four of its members.

Regarding this entity, its current manager, Carlos Mosquera , resigned from his position “by mutual agreement”, as of June 30, including a compensation of a quarter of a million dollars.

Read the note: The Etesa manager is liquidated ‘by mutual agreement’ and will receive compensation of almost $250,000.

For these positions, a period of seven years is established, trying to ensure that they do not coincide with presidential terms, to provide autonomy to entities with highly technical operations.

On Tuesday, June 25, Mulino appointed Salomón Shamah as general director of the Tourism Promotion Fund (Promtur) , despite the fact that article 6 of law 9 of March 14, 2017 indicates that the board of directors of this organization is the in charge of “appointing and removing” the general director of the organization.

The law that regulates the fund establishes in detail the method for forming the board of directors, who is responsible for choosing the director, approving the administrative structure, expenses and investments.

Representatives of the newly formed mixed bench and the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) announced that on July 1 they would support the Realizing Goals (RM) candidate, Dana Castañeda , for the presidency of the board of directors of the National Assembly .

José Muñoz , president of the Alianza party , stressed that the four deputies who make up the so-called mixed bench met this week and agreed to support Castañeda’s candidacy.

“Castañeda is a person who acted in the Assembly as a deputy for 10 years and 5 years as undersecretary, with which we reached the consensus that he was the most experienced person to occupy that position,” said the president of Alianza.

As will be remembered, said bench is made up of two elected deputies from the Alianza party: Osman Gómez and Johnny Guevara. This faction was joined by Isaac Mosquera , a Darien representative from the Nationalist Republican Liberal Movement (Molirena), as well as Eliécer Castellón, from the Popular Party.

In the words of Muñoz, the coming period will require a great consensus at the national level on issues such as the Social Security Fund, the recovery of the economy and attention to the water crisis. “Our caucus will support these important issues,” she said.

For his part, the head of the PRD bench, Javier Sucre, told La Prensa that although they have not yet made a decision on who they will support on July 1, they “welcome with favor” Castañeda’s candidacy as president of the assembly.

“In the next few days we are going to meet with her [Castañeda], as much as possible, before Saturday,” he assured.

The PRD president Benicio Robinson announced that if they support another candidate, it will be one who comes from a political party. “We are not going to support free-standing candidates, since only they are represented and not the vast majority,” he added.

Castañeda, a deputy for circuit 2-3 —which includes the districts of La Pintada, Natá and Olá in the province of Coclé—, is RM’s choice to preside over the National Assembly, after an intense internal struggle within the group.

A total of 12 people reported to the Public Prosecutor’s Office (MP) that their names appear on the National Assembly (AN) payroll , even though they have never worked or withdrawn a check from that entity.

Some of those affected appear with salaries of up to $8,900 per month. They discovered this irregularity when verifying their digital file, which is proof of the salaries received from the employer on the electronic portal of the Social Security Fund (CSS) . On these receipts they appear as employees of the AN between October 2023 and January 2024.  The Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office reported that it has carried out proceedings in the Assembly, the CSS and the Comptroller General of the Republic. This last entity indicated that “it does not keep records of appointments or proof of issuance of checks” in favor of those affected.

In addition, inspections were carried out at the CSS, some with computer experts.

The prosecutor’s office highlighted that the CSS already “ruled out that those affected had worked in public institutions.”

La Prensa contacted five of those affected: four work in private companies and one in the Ministry of Education. Three of them revealed that, although they filed complaints, they have not yet been contacted by the MP.

This Wednesday, the expansion of the Panama Canal celebrates eight years of operation, marked by the challenge of facing restrictions on ship transits due to drought.

Since the inauguration of the Neopanamax locks in 2016, more than 25,000 vessels have passed through, including the largest container ships in the industry, such as the CMA CGM Zephyr (with a capacity of 16,285 Teu’s ) and the Ever Max (17,312 Teu’s ).

The waterway connects more than 180 maritime routes, linking 170 countries and reaching approximately 1,920 ports worldwide.

The container ship segment, considering the operations of the new and the first locks, represents more than 50% of transits, followed by liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and liquefied natural gas (LNG) vessels.

Since the expansion, LNG vessels have seen steady growth.

Currently, more than 90% of the world’s fleet can use the route, facilitating the competitive transportation of natural gas from the United States to Asia.

LPG vessel traffic has also increased significantly, with the second largest segment being due to the Neopanamax locks.

For this year, the Canal’s income in the budget was estimated at $4,776.5 million , with operating expenses of $1,542 million and direct contributions to the State of approximately $2,470.8 million. In addition to other payments of $247.9 million.

The result at the end of the fiscal year will depend on the normalization of the number of transits, the amount of cargo transited and the expenses of the canal operation.

The Neopanamax locks, considered a marvel of modern engineering, were built at a cost of at least $5.6 billion.

Fuel prices will register an increase starting this Friday, June 28, reported the National Secretariat of Energy .

The 95 octane one will increase two cents per liter and will be sold at $1.02. Meanwhile, the 91 octane one will rise one cent and the liter will be sold at $0.93.

While low sulfur diesel will increase three cents and will be $0.88 per liter.

These prices will be valid until next July 12.

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