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Present Varela's Recent Executive Decrees

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Varela surprise announcements questioned

Posted on September 17, 2016 in Panama

Varela made the first of his announcements on the Cinta Costera
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TWO UNEXPECTED  announcements In one day from President Juan Carlos Varela, have raised eyebrows and questions with some claiming they have “no logical basis”.

On Thursday September 15 Varela announced that from January 2017 there would be a “significant reduction” in fares on  the Metro Buses on the North and South corridors.

Hours later, in Pese, Herrera province, the president promised to increase the minimum wage of staff  of Government departments and decentralized institutions, from $500 to $600, from January 2017.

According to the Ministry of Economy and Finance, the increase represents a cost between $ 50million and $ 60 million.

“We have given orders to the ministers to seek more efficiency, more savings and use those funds to adjust for  those who earn the least, from $500 to $600.

Alfredo Berrocal, secretary general of the National Federation of Public Servants, said that the measure is “a hoax”,  has “no technical basis” and has an “electioneering purpose.”

Varela said that the increase in the minimum wage for officials who enter into force on January 1 is not  in the General Budget.

He added that each institution should generate the savings needed to finance the increase without representing an increase in total expenditure operations.

“We have given orders to the ministers to seek more efficiency, more savings and use those funds to adjust to those who earn the least said the president.

When in  July, the Cabinet approved the draft budget law, the statement sent by Varela  included the wage increase provided by law for educators, health workers and police, but no reference whatsoever to  an increase in the minimum wage of civil servants, reports La Prensa.

The announcement comes after the General State Budget for 2017 was already presented in the National Assembly and the vast majority of institutions have placed their accounts before the Budget Committee.

The change  affects  about 35,000  employees

The Ministry of Communication of the State said that “at this time the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) and government entities are working on different aspects involving the announced  increase; one of these components is to determine the amount of savings that departments  have achieved on the basis of implementing budgets with greater efficiency and transparency. ”

Minister  of Trade and Industry, Augusto Arosemena said, that the increase is not in the budget. ” We’re doing the analysis to determine the impact and where to get the funds. ”

Minister of Social Development, Alcibiades Vasquez, said that he is currently evaluating the implications of the salary structure.

He said that the institution has a payroll of 2 ,500, including temporary and permanent, of which 1,000 receive wages below $600.

Luis iguel Hincapie, Deputy Foreign Minister said:  “We have lowered the payroll since we entered the Government. … now with the announcement of the president we  have to evaluate others …”


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Government minimum wage boosted to $600

Posted on September 16, 2016 in Panama

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Government minimum wage boosted to $600

THE MINIMUM wage for Panama’s government employees will rise to $600  a month starting in January said President Juan Carlos Varela, in Herrera on Thursday September 15.

Currently, about 60,000 civil servants earn the minimum wage.

At the start of the year, the Ministry of Labor approved an increase of 5.5 percent of the minimum wage for workers in small businesses and 8.5 percent  for those in large companies.

Varela also announced that the government will build a training institute in Pesé, Herrera, his hometown.

It will be the second government-owned training institute.

Varela said that the government gave the order to proceed on the project this week.


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