Tuesday 25th April 2023.

April 24, 2023


Going shopping at the supermarket, grocery store or convenience store every month or every fortnight becomes a financial exercise. Food prices continue to rise, causing changes in the family economy.

The increase in some products in the Basic Family Food Basket (CBFA) is due to the increase in imported inputs, and others due to seasonal impacts, such as some vegetables and legumes.

According to the report of the Authority for the Protection of Consumers and Defense of Competition (Acodeco), the CBFA made up of 59 food products (does not include personal hygiene or household cleaning products), recorded an average cost of $286.38 in supermarkets in the districts of Panama and San Miguelito.

In one year, the average increase in the basket was $10.73 or 3.89%, compared to the $275.65 that it cost in March 2022. Compared to February of this year, the variation in the average basket was 2 dollars.

According to Acodeco, there are supermarkets where the highest cost of the basket reached $320.26 in March, $5.79 more than the maximum of $314.47 spent in March 2022.

To calculate the cost of the CBFA, Acodeco analyzes the prices in 89 establishments (50 supermarkets and 39 businesses such as convenience stores and grocery stores).

An interesting fact is that the cost of the basic basket varies according to the area where the products are purchased. For example, the lowest costs are recorded in the supermarkets of Santa Ana, in the capital city, where you can pay an average of $274.01 for a basic food basket, the same as in San Miguelito at $273.18.

In the Juan Díaz area, the cheapest basic basket in supermarkets costs $275.89; in East Panama, $271.35; and in Bethany, $282.38. In Pueblo Nuevo, in the Vista Hermosa area, a basic grocery purchase can cost as little as $287.28; in San Francisco, $289.92 the minimum cost; and in Vía España $293.59.

While the most expensive basic basket is in shops in the El Cangrejo area (317.80 dollars) and Vía Porras (320.26 dollars).

The average cost of the basic food basket in mini-supermarkets and grocery stores in Panama and in the district of San Miguelito in March was $326.09, that is, $39.71 more expensive than the average paid in supermarkets of $286.38.

Some native communities of the Panamanian Atlantic will be among the first to fully feel the effects of climate change in the country, according to projections by specialists.

One of them is the island of Cartí Sugdup , in the Guna Yala region, where sea level continues to cover more coastal space over the years.

The case of this island transcends borders and drew the attention of international media. The US channel CBS News recalled that Isla Cartí Sugdup is one of the most overcrowded islands in the region and that its inhabitants know they have to migrate. In effect, it is a migration product of the effects of climate change.

Likewise, reference is made to the fact that scientists estimate that in 30 years this island and other nearby ones will be under water.

The community has to be moved. “There is no other option,” Laurel Ávila, from the Ministry of the Environment, told CBS News . “The rise in sea level is not going to stop.”

The Panamanian authorities are in the process of completing the construction of a new place to transfer the inhabitants of these communities. The place will be known as Nuevo Cartí.

“Some residents, including Augusto Boyd, have put up a fight using rocks and coral reef debris to try to expand the island and keep the water at bay. However, he realized that it is a losing battle and that the only option is to leave everything behind ”is reflected in the CBS News report.

“Filling, filling, filling all the time, because the water doesn’t stop. It keeps going up,” she told CBS News in Spanish. “It’s hard. Everything you did here is left behind.”

Natural or legal persons who pay taxes in the Republic of Panama and have an income equal to or greater than 20 million dollars, and those who have assets of the same value, will be attended by a specialized office in the General Directorate of Revenues ( DGI), to carry out everything related to their procedures, income statements, and control measures.

According to resolution 201-3346 of April 13, 2023, the DGI will have the “Adjunct Office of Large Taxpayers”, which will be attached to the superior office of the entity. Among the most relevant attributions of this office are those of preparing the list of taxpayers that will be subject to its actions, and also attending to everything related to the tax processing of these taxpayers. The office must publish in each fiscal period a list of natural or legal persons, identified as Large Taxpayers. These people may request their withdrawal from this list for justified cause.

According to the resolution itself, the purpose of this measure is: “…to optimize the inspection means and service channels to cover the needs of a relevant segment of taxpayers, as well as to contribute to the strengthening of the operational model of the Directorate General de Ingresos as a collecting entity, it is necessary to create a work team specialized in promoting tax compliance of large taxpayers”.

The jurist Martha Luna Véliz, a specialist in Tax Law, stated that this initiative had already been carried out during the administration of President Ernesto Pérez Balladares (1994-1999), but that it was abandoned in subsequent governments. The lawyer considers that: “It is necessary to establish a special Office for large taxpayers, taking into account that under this criterion those natural or legal persons are classified… that represent 67% of the collections of the main taxes of the Republic of Panama , …so their treatment must be differentiated, in order to promote voluntary compliance with their tax obligations.”.

The Public Ministry reported this Monday that three people allegedly linked to an act of embezzlement and falsification of documents were apprehended, after several raids that took place in the districts of Arraiján and La Chorrera, province of Panama West, and in Panama.

Prosecutors from the Public Ministry reported at a press conference that among the people arrested are an urban music singer and the owner of a workshop.

Likewise, the representatives of the Public Ministry inform that these people are allegedly linked to the crimes of embezzlement and falsification of documents in general, after apparently selling vehicles and office goods donated by different State institutions.

Elisena Ríos, superior prosecutor of Panama Oeste, and Juan Gutierrez, prosecutor of the section for crimes against public administration, did not reveal the names of the people apprehended as the investigations continue.

It is detailed that during the proceedings, 18 points were raided, among these four workshops, the headquarters of two non-profit organizations (foundations) and that one of these headquarters is a shelter for the rehabilitation of people with addiction problems. In addition, they report the raid of 12 residences located in El Chorrillo, La Chorrera and Arraiján.

According to the Public Ministry, there are 13 registered investigations, the first one began in 2021, and it found the location “of 17 vehicles whose documentation had been altered for the respective transfers to third parties.”

“In addition, in the midst of the proceedings, 8 people were located who, when reviewed, maintain arrest warrants for gang member crimes and theft,” the Public Ministry reported on its social networks. Prosecutors clarified that these people are not related to the original investigation.

Panama seeks to become a science hub , however, low investment in the sector is one of the main limitations that scientists face every year when they try to carry out a research project.

The Executive’s promise to increase total public investment in science, technology and innovation to 1% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) during this mandate —embodied in the Joining Forces Action Plan— was forgotten, since the Secretariat National Science, Technology and Innovation (Senacyt) does not have a sufficient budget.

The entity, which aims to raise the level of productivity, competitiveness, and modernization of the private, academic-research, government, and general population sectors, has a budget of $49.6 million this year, which is lower than the 2022 budget, which was of $50.4 million.

Panamanian scientists agree that the country has the conditions to be a science hub , but investment is insufficient.

In this sense, the National Secretary of Science, Technology and Innovation, Eduardo Ortega Barría, pointed out that more solid foundations are required and investment has to be more robust; even higher than 1% of GDP.

Ortega Barría gave as an example that Singapore, a model of what we aspire to achieve, has an investment of 2.6%; and in our region, Brazil invests 1.2% of its GDP in research and development.


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