Tuesday 16th August 2022.

August 16, 2022


Some 450 small and medium-sized pharmacies were closed this Monday, nationwide. This, due to the “imposition” of Executive Decree No. 17 of August 10, said Orlando Pérez, who chairs the National Union of Pharmacy Owners (Unprofa). Said decree set a 30% discount on the price of 170 medications as of today. Pérez said that with the entry into force of this decree it is difficult for them to provide the service to the communities. He also indicated that these pharmacies are at the expense of being fined by the Authority for Consumer Protection and Defense of Competition (Acodeco) for not complying with the new provision. “They condemn us to bankruptcy,” said Pérez, who said that this weekend they held meetings on this matter at the headquarters of the Ministry of Health (Minsa) and “they turned their backs on us.” Meanwhile, the Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture of Panama expressed – through a statement – ​​that it is unfortunate that the Government has ignored the request of all the sectors involved to grant additional time for the implementation of the decree, which was based on technical, economic and commercial supports, which respond to market realities. The head of the Health portfolio, Luis Francisco Sucre, said that there is a willingness to continue dialogue with all parties on this matter.

To generate the necessary demand for the reactivation of the tourism sector, the Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture of Panama (Cciap), is asking the government for the economic allocation that by law corresponds to the Tourism Promotion Fund of Panama (Promtur Panama) . Marcela Galindo, president of the Cciap, recalled that Promtur is an initiative that arises from the private sector with the aim of having a planned, executed and sustainable international destination promotion. Likewise, it should not be affected every five years with the changes of government. “We began to see the first results of these efforts, when in the business intelligence report of Promtur Panama, from January to June 2022 -which is based on figures from credible international measurement sources- it is highlighted that we are on track in the process of recovery and that if it continues like this without further damage due to demonstrations that affect free transit in the country, the trend indicates that by the end of the year we will be reaching the levels that the sector had in 2019, as indicated by the latest figures from the hotel sector ”, highlighted Galindo. In the same way, she stressed that the country needs to attract tourists from the main markets, which is achieved with constant and frequent promotion. The importance of “re-adding the more than 100,000 direct and indirect jobs that the sector generated in 2019 is also reiterated and this will be possible if continuity is given to the work carried out by the organization that is called to promote the destination, Promtur ”

The National Police confirmed this Monday, August 15, that the theft of about $700,000 from the branch of the National Bank of Panama located on Calle 26, Calidonia district, is being investigated. There are still no further details of the situation, while police officers cordoned off the area for the start of investigations. “We inform the general public that our branch located on Calle 26 Calidonia was robbed. At this time, the competent authorities are determining the damages,” reported the National Bank of Panama on social networks. It is unknown exactly what time the event occurred, but it was preliminarily known that it could have occurred between Saturday and Sunday.

The brothers Luis Enrique and Ricardo Alberto Martinelli Linares, sons of the former Panamanian president, Ricardo Martinelli Berrocal, will be released on January 25, 2023, as revealed by the technical files of the two convicts from the Justice Department’s Office of Prisons from United States. The Martnelli Linares pleaded guilty to laundering $28 million that the Brazilian construction company Odebrecht paid in exchange for contracts. The money received by the brothers would have been intended to benefit “a close relative and high-ranking official” of the Panamanian government. On May 20, 2022, the judge in the case, Raymond J. Dearie, head of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, sentenced them to pay 36 months (3 years) in prison and two years probation, as well as to pay a fine of USD 250,000.

In the first six months of the year, the total expenses of the non-financial public sector far exceeded revenues, thus generating a fiscal deficit. Expenses totaled $7,498.2 million, an increase of 1.1% compared to the previous year, while revenues totaled $5,578.3 million, an increase of 7.8%. The result is therefore a fiscal deficit of $1,919.9 million, lower than that registered in the first half of 2021, when revenues were still feeling the effect of the restrictions imposed by the pandemic.

The delaying tactics by lawyers once again altered the course of the Blue Apple case, an investigation that tracks the payment of bribes by construction companies to former officials to keep millionaire state works contracts. The trial of 26 people, scheduled for today, Tuesday, was suspended due to appeals filed by defense attorneys for several of those investigated, sources from the Judicial Branch informed La Prensa, however, they did not specify names. The legal actions were filed after the third judge to liquidate criminal cases, Baloisa Marquínez, rejected some evidence requested by defense attorneys. The judge sent the file with the appeals to the Superior Liquidation Court to resolve the controversy.

The National Aeronaval Service (Senan) seized 1,900 kilos of cocaine inside a container that was on a ship from Turbo, Colombia and destined for Slovenia, located in central Europe. Drug prosecutor Xiomar Rodríguez explained that Senan agents, during a routine inspection, detected anomalies in the seals of the container that was on a ship that arrived at a port in the province of Colón. The agents proceeded to carry out a verification procedure, locating inside 64 bags containing packages, whose content is presumed to be cocaine. The drug prosecutor’s office is investigating whether the container was contaminated with the drug in Panamanian ports or if it was already inside when it left Colombia. The Senan commissioner, Rafael Callejas, explained that during this year 85 operations have been carried out in which a total of 63 thousand kilos of drugs have been seized so far.

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