Thursday 9th March 2023.

March 9, 2023


The Ministry of Commerce and Industry (Mici), announced that the Government reached an agreement on the final text of the contract with the Canadian mining company First Quantum. The announcement comes after weeks where both sides accused each other of not wanting to reach an agreement.

The Mici statement indicates that annually the State would be receiving at least 375 million dollars in taxes and royalties.

It was reported that the duration of the contract is for 20 years, with an option to be extended for an additional 20 years.

“Most importantly, this contract is beneficial for Panama and Panamanians, while creating the necessary conditions for Minera Panama to continue its operations under a fair and equitable investment environment,” said the head of Mici, Federico Alfaro Boyd, according to the statement.

For his part, Tristan Pascall, CEO of First Quantum Minerals Ltd, stressed that after “a long and arduous process of talks, the proposed concession contract outlines the basis for the future of Cobre Panama. We look forward to a long and constructive partnership with Panama in the years to come.”

Likewise, it was announced that the contract will be available to the population during a 30-day public consultation process. Once this part has been completed, it will be up to the Cabinet Council to evaluate it and, incidentally, authorize the Minister of Commerce to sign the contract, after which it will be presented for review and endorsement by the Comptroller General of the Republic.

It will then be presented to the National Assembly for approval and will later be sanctioned by the President of the Republic, Laurentino Cortizo.

First Quantum said that the Panama Maritime Authority will issue a resolution on Wednesday, March 8, where it will lift the suspension that weighs on the port of Punta Rincón since January 26, due to failures in the certification process of the scales used to weigh the material that was exported. “Ore processing is expected to resume and restore the mine to full production levels over the next few days,” the Canadian miner said.

The Electoral Tribunal (TE) presented on Wednesday, March 8, the programs for the registration of early voting and the registration of voters abroad.

Alfredo Juncá, magistrate president of the TE, said that the registration of early voting began this Monday, March 6 and that it includes servants of the nation, who will be able to make use of the advantage of integrating the new registry to vote for president in advance.

This advance registration includes members of the security forces and others who must make use of the right to vote in this way. This group would include doctors, nurses, communicators and voters of other activities that require exercising the right to vote in advance.

“We are in a new stage, the antecedents of early voting indicate that in the 2007 reform, it was possible to include that Panamanians living abroad exercise the vote by email only for president,” said the president of the General Elections Plan, magistrate Eduardo Valdés Escoffery.

Until 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, 18 Panamanians had been registered to enter the early voting program and these people are located in countries such as Argentina, Costa Rica, France and Sweden. Registration is done from the User Service Center. Registration is until December 15, 2023.

In the remote community of La Peñita, in Darién, something is being observed that did not happen four years ago: a large migratory flow of people, through the mighty Chucunaque River.

“Dude, this hasn’t happened in a while. In communities like Bajo Chiquito they no longer fit and now entire families of migrants are arriving here in La Peñita,” says Tomás, an Emberá who lives on the banks of that extensive watershed.

In fact, in 2019, La Peñita was the epicenter of the migration crisis; however, not having the basic and necessary conditions to attend to the walkers, the migrant population was transferred to other points such as San Vicente or Lajas Blancas, both in Metetí.

However, now that the migration scenario is sharpening, in the community of Tomás they are smiling again. The young indigenous man explains why.

“When there were hundreds of migrants in La Peñita, we sold them food, water and provided other services such as boats or transportation to the center of Darién. When they left, our small businesses also went bankrupt and we had to go back to fishing and planting,” he said.

La Peñita is a rural hamlet of about 150 houses on the banks of the Chucunaque River and in the poorest province of the country, only surpassed by the indigenous regions. It is about five hours from Panama City and practically lost in the border jungle.

The Development Bank of Latin America (CAF) will allocate 122 million dollars to promote electric mobility in Panama, Uruguay and Paraguay.

These funds are part of the 231 million dollars approved in October 2022 by the Green Climate Fund (GCF). This contribution will be executed under the Electric Mobility and Low Carbon Transport Program (E-MOTION) that will function as a market accelerator, will allow the adoption of electric mobility and will contribute to closing the gaps between pilot projects and the massive deployment of intensive use electric vehicles, CAF said.

Currently, there are 300 100% electric vehicles in the country, 2,904 hybrids and 323 hybrids with the option of recharging with plugs.

In public transport, the Tourism Authority of Panama advances the implementation of a route through Casco Viejo, operated with 5 electric buses that will be acquired with funds provided by the Inter-American Development Bank.

The construction sector has historically suffered the consequences of late payments for the state works it executes, which entails higher costs, which finally end up being transferred to the entire production chain involved in the industry.

At this moment the Government owes about 286 million dollars to 38 supplier companies that have provided their services in 18 entities, highlighting road projects, schools and hospitals.

This was revealed by Carlos Allen, president of the Panamanian Chamber of Construction (Capac), who told this newspaper that they have held talks with officials of the Ministry of the Presidency and the Ministry of Economy and Finance, trying to expedite the payment of the work done to obtain the liquidity needed in the process of economic reactivation that the country is experiencing.

Allen recalled that last year an extraordinary credit of 300 million dollars was consigned, which served to pay the overdue accounts of the year 2021, but the commitments of 2022 were pending.

Just two days after having run as a candidate for the presidency of the Republic in the primary elections of the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD), the deputy and current president of the National Assembly, Crispiano Adames, presented a bill that seeks to modify the requirements of the economic aid delivered by the Institute for the Training and Use of Human Resources (Ifarhu) and from which they have benefited. In this administration, close friends of his colleagues and co-partisans.

Adames, recognizing the political management that has been given to this program, said that his proposal seeks to eliminate the “discretion” that has been maintained until now in the management of Ifahu aid.

“We believe it is essential to regulate, once and for all, that it is really the people of scarce resources with great academic merits who can obtain the benefit,” Adames said.

To change this situation, the deputy raises a new requirement: that the beneficiaries report an annual family income of less than $ 50.000,. This would imply having a socio-economic study that justifies the needs.


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