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Corruption and conflicts of interest recovery obstacles


Posted 01/08/2021

Corruption and conflict of interest are the biggest obstacles to achieving a post-pandemic sustainable economic recovery says Panama’s Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture(Cciap)  which has relaunched its Respect  My Future campaign.

“But this process requires the strengthening of  Panama’s foundations and its constitutional, institutional, and social principles," says the Chamber.

The campaign has the purpose of raising awareness and rescuing civic and moral values and has the support of the National Commission for Civic and Moral Values and the Ecumenical and Interreligious Committee of Panama, reiterated the Cciap, in its weekly newsletter.

According to the Cciap, #RespetaMiFuturo focuses on respect, as an inescapable condition for any country that seeks to advance. Respect, in turn, encompasses values such as ethics, freedom, leadership, loyalty, tolerance, inclusion, justice, honesty, equality, equity, the group emphasized.

"If as a union we have decided to protect the campaign, it is because we are convinced that the main threats to social and economic reactivation are corruption and conflicts of interest, which tarnish positive works and good examples," it added.

The campaign has the support of the mass media and opinion leaders in the country.



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Panama GDP expands 10% in first semester


Posted 17/09/2021

Panama's gross domestic product (GDP) expanded by 10% in the first half of this year, compared to the same period in 2020, when the country's economy was semi-paralyzed due to measures to curb the COVID-19 pandemic which ultimately resulted in a 17.9% collapse of the indicator that year.

The National Institute of Statistics and Census (INEC) reported January and June the GDP "reached a cumulative growth of 10.0%", with a significant expansion of the indicator in the second quarter (40.4%) in contrast with the result of the first quarter (-8.5%).

In the second quarter, the Quarterly Gross Domestic Product (GDPT) reached $9,124.9 billion, an increase of $2,627.8 billion compared to the same quarter of 2020, specified the INEC, a body attached to the Comptroller General's Office.

"For the second quarter of 2021, mitigation measures and the vaccination process have been allowing health authorities to reduce or eliminate the restrictions established to contain the pandemic, helping economic activities begin their recovery process", explained the statistical entity.

It specified that the activities related to the domestic economy that had a positive performance in the second quarter were construction; transport and communication; trade; government services; health and real estate and business, among others, while financial services showed decreases.

The items related to the external economy that grew were "exploitation of mines and quarries, by boosting the economy with the production of copper concentrate by 493.3%; and the Panama Canal, with an increase in its toll revenues by 20 2%, mainly those related to the transit of Neopanamax vessels at 21.5% ".

Port operations also expanded as a result of the greater movement of TEU containers by 17% and re-exports from the Colon Free Zone by 62.4%, while exports of bananas, pineapple, and fish showed decreases. After the fall of 17.9% last year, international organizations and risk rating agencies have predicted that Panama's GDP will grow between 8% and 12% this year.

Local analysts warn that growth will be a "rebound effect" driven by sectors such as mining and not by the reactivation of the domestic market, because the public and private investments necessary to lift the sector have not been made, for which they foresee that unemployment will continue at around 20% and informality at more 52%.

Sectors such as hotels and restaurants; the manufacturing industry; financial intermediation; agriculture, and real estate, business and rental activities continue to be hit hard.



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Panama economy will grow 9% this year  - World Bank


Posted 07/10/2021

Panama’s economy will grow 9.9% this year, according to a new report published by the World Bank.

According to this forecast, Panama would be among the countries with the highest growth rate in Latin America, behind Guyana (21.2%), Peru (11.3%), and Chile (10.6%).

For next year, the international organization's estimate for Panama is a growth of 7.5%, also among the highest in the continent.

In a press conference with the region's media, William Maloney the Bank's chief economist for Latin America and the Caribbean briefly referred to the evolution of the Panamanian economy.

He said that the country received strong blows in sectors such as tourism and air transport, and stressed the importance of reactivating them. He also noted that there are similar challenges to the rest of the region, such as greater integration, improving infrastructure, and the quality of education to improve growth rates in the medium term.

Latin America and the Caribbean as a whole will grow 6.3% in 2021, which will not be enough to completely reverse the 6.7% contraction recorded last year.

The agency noted that to achieve the growth rate necessary to move the region forward and reduce social tensions, reforms must be urgently carried out in the areas of infrastructure, education, health, energy policy, and innovation, in addition to facing the new challenges of climate change.




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Job recovery must be common obsession - business chamber


Posted 10/10/2021

The recovery of jobs in Panama must be a common obsession says  the president of  Panama’s Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture Jose Ramón Icza  in the Chamber’s weekly bulletin.

Small and medium-sized entrepreneurs need to be able to start their operations after 18 months of mobility restrictions and activities closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. "You have to act as soon as possible," he said.

He recalled that the restrictions have finally been almost completely eliminated, "which will allow the reconstruction of the business fabric and the reactivation of its main asset: human resources.".

However, this process will be accelerated "as long as" access to the necessary supports is available. "Hence, the Chamber of firmly supports the immediate implementation of the multi-sector guarantee program agreed upon at the work table between the business sector and the Government."

The union requested the immediate implementation of the joint venture program approved in May by the Executive Branch for the Panamanian tourism sector.

He recalled that at the beginning of the pandemic when the restriction measures were implemented, the Government of President Laurentino Cortizo made available to the business sector, especially small and medium-sized companies, funds provided by different multilaterals.

"However, in all this time their use has been limited, given that the conditions established to access them do not take into account the financial situation of the companies in an environment of prolonged closure," emphasized Icaza.

In a tour that the Chamber has made throughout the country, it has met with entrepreneurs of small and medium-sized companies, who have confirmed the difficulties they have in accessing these credits, revealed Icaza.

He added that everyone agrees that the demands to obtain these loans obviate the current reality caused by the pandemic.

"Given this situation, it is necessary to create a sense of urgency, these credits must be implemented immediately, taking into account the reality described above," he said.



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Index of economic activity up 12.48% - hotels lag


Posted 23/10/2021

The monthly index of economic activity (Imae) registered a growth of 12.48% between January and August 2021 compared to the same period of the previous year, reported the National Institute of Statistics and Census.

The result is a consequence of the higher level of openness this year, which is compared with the months of greater mobility restrictions last year, at the beginning of the pandemic.

Activities such as transportation, storage, and communications register growth, but there are segments, such as hotels, that are at negative rates.



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