Thursday 31st August 2023.

August 30, 2023


In the second consultation on the bill that eliminates Law 6 of 2002 and establishes a new rule on transparency in public administration and the action of habeas data , it was proposed that the Council of the National Concertation for Development review the proposal presented by the National Authority for Transparency and Access to Information (Antai) .

That was one of the ideas that arose this Wednesday, August 30, at the meeting of the Government, Justice and Constitutional Affairs subcommittee of the National Assembly , specially formed to analyze bill 1031 , which has met with broad rejection. unions and civil society activists, who accuse Antai of having presented a proposal without consultation and far from the model recommended by the Organization of American States (OAS).

The president of the subcommittee, Eugenio Bernal , and the deputy Luis Ernesto Carles , who make it up, have promised that the consultations will be broad. Deputy Corina Cano completes the subcommittee.

In the session this Wednesday, which was held in a room of the Panamanian Association of Business Executives (Apede) , there were 48 people signed up to give their opinion.

One of them was the former deputy and former Vice President of the Republic Rubén Arosemena , who stated that project 1031 has “distortions.” It was he who proposed involving the Concertación Council, so that it could review the proposal and attend to the queries, before involving the deputies.

“The norm must be shielded. If not, we are going to have serious problems, but the final result is worrying,” said Arosemena, who has reactivated in politics as part of the campaign team of former President Martín Torrijos, presidential candidate of the Popular Party in the May 2024 elections.

Andrés Wong introduced himself as an official of the Ministry of the Presidency and said that project 1031 is a consequence of the commitment made by President Laurentino Cortizo , when he signed the ” transparency challenge ” before being elected, in 2019.

“The intention is to have a law that we can all feel satisfied with. If we pass this law with the accompaniment of all of you, the other government will have to execute it. There is no ill will,” he stated.

But Olga de Obaldía , executive director of the Fundación para el Desarrollo de la Libertad Ciudadana (Panamanian chapter of Transparency International ), warned that the 2019 challenge did not propose by any party that Law 6 had to be modified or eliminated; only a real commitment was requested to fulfill it.

De Obaldía remarked that Antai’s proposal is without consultation. “At no time was the project being discussed shared,” he emphasized.

For her part, the director of Antai, Elsa Fernández, classified the questions as “valid”, especially in those points of the project that propose modifications to the habeas data mechanism.

The consultations ended without the subcommittee defining a date on which it would deliver a report to the Government Commission in charge of the PRD deputy, Leandro Ávila.

The presidential candidate for the Movimiento Otro Camino party , Ricardo Lombana , was hospitalized this Wednesday, August 30, presenting a picture of pneumonia, reported his press team.

According to a party statement, Lombana was transferred this afternoon to a medical center after presenting health problems.

“After being examined and evaluated, the doctors have diagnosed him with pneumonia and ordered his hospitalization,” the statement stated.

It is not specified if the presidential candidate was in any activity when he had to be taken to the hospital. What was reported was that the press conference that was scheduled for this afternoon, at the Sheraton hotel, was suspended.

It was also announced that the walks that would take place next weekend in Juan Díaz (Panama) and Tanara (Chepo) were likewise suspended.

It was reported that once there is more information on the state of health of Lombana, it will be made known.

Exactly one month ago, on July 30, Lombana was ratified by the Otro Camino Movement as a presidential candidate for the May 5, 2024 elections.

The Banking Association of Panama (ABP) sent a letter directly to President Laurentino Cortizo to warn what they consider a serious delay in the validation, approval, instrumentation and use of tax credits that originate once mortgage loans are granted with preferential interest. The State owes $600 million, which increases at the rate of $20 million every month.

“The problems that currently afflict the process, of administering the incentives of the tax credit system, and the climate of interest rates with a tendency to increase combine to sow serious doubts about the economic feasibility of continuing to support this sector with the granting of new credits”, argued the ABP in the letter dated August 24, 2023, signed by the president of the board of directors, Otto Wolfschoon.

According to the bankers, according to a recent survey carried out in the sector, 80% of the banks have decided to reduce or suspend new loans under the preferential interest scheme, which would have an impact on the availability of homes for clients. trying to buy a property with prices up to $180 thousand.

In addition, 90% of credit institutions hope to minimize or stop financing to construction companies that offer properties that apply to preferential interest. In fact, the state banks have more and more participation in the preferential mortgage market.

According to the Panamanian norm, the bank grants its clients loans with a reduced interest rate. The sacrifice is assumed by the State, through the subsidy validated by the General Directorate of Revenue (DGI).

In this scheme, the banking entities submit to the DGI all the documentation of the disbursed loans so that it issues a certification of recognition of the money that the bank has stopped receiving and that will be compensated.

The banks, meanwhile, credit the money to the payment of income tax, once they present their tax returns.

However, if the DGI delays in issuing the certifications, the banks have no way to recover, in a timely manner, the cost acquired. This is what has happened in recent years.

The Ministry of Labor and Labor Development (Mitradel) installed this Wednesday, August 30, the technical commission that will analyze the adjustment of the minimum wage.

The commission includes representatives of the workers through the various trade union organizations, employers and the Government.

For the analysis, the cost of the Basic Family Food Basket is taken into account, among other economic indicators.

The cost of the food basket measured by the Authority for the Protection of Consumers and Defense of Competition (Acodeco) was located at the end of June at 271.73 dollars the lowest cost, at 290.17 dollars the average and the highest cost was 324.39 dollars .

While the Ministry of Economy and Finance reports that the Basic Family Food Basket at the end of April this year was at 345.19 dollars.

When installing the national commission for the analysis of the minimum wage, the Minister of Labor, Doris Zapata, indicated that the aim is for workers and employers to reach a consensus that allows for a fair minimum wage.

“All the organizations of workers, businessmen and the Government must work to reduce poverty and social inclusion”, indicated the minister when urging that an agreement be reached.

Tocumen SA International Airport (AITSA) reported that the risk rating agency S&P Global Ratings confirmed the ‘BBB’ rating for the air terminal, while improving the outlook for the state-owned company from negative to stable.

Raffoul Arab, General Manager of Tocumen SA, points out that the improvement in the credit outlook reflects AITSA’s financial discipline, aligned with the country’s fiscal administration and its continuous growth.

At a price never recorded in the history of specialty coffee auctions in Panama, the Carmen Estate lot in Paso Ancho, district of Tierras Altas (Chiriquí), managed to sell for 10 thousand 5 dollars per kilo ($10,005.00) .

This has caused astonishment among connoisseurs, it is a grain of the geisha variety in the washing process . The lot in question was acquired by the company Coffee Techo Ltd of New Zealand.

This coffee, which has caused a sensation in the demanding specialty market, is grown on the Carmen Estate at an altitude of 1,900 meters above sea level. A production that began in 1960 and which belonged to the Franceschi family, is now owned by the Chinese company Dashang Group, which maintains the care and tradition in coffee cultivation.

Jean Paul Langenstein, manager and representative of the company, said he was very impressed and happy because Panamanian coffee is in great demand worldwide.

For his part, Hunter Tedman, president of the Specialty Coffee Association of Panama (SCAP), considered that the auction had an excellent response from global buyers.


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