Isthmian Update Some of the news in Panama

Expensive bananas

Banana production is in danger stated the daily La Estrella. Two years ago flooding in the banana producing regions affected it, and thereafter consumer prices have had significant increases after the loss of production in the district of Baru and in the province of Bocas del Toro. With the passing of the years the activity has been displaced by planting oil palms.

Investing in water

Over $700 million has been invested to improve the production and supply of drinking water in rural and urban areas of the country, which will benefit 1.8 million people now living without the vital liquid or intermittently receiving it. The rest of the people who receive the service (2.3 million) have faced three water crises in recent years, and that uncovered deficiencies in the service and administrative problems of the Institute of Aqueducts and Sewers (IDAAN).

Venezuelan debt affects Colon Free Zone

The debts of Venezuelan merchants with the Colom Free Zone users amounts to about $600 million, due to their difficulty in acquiring dollars, said the zone administrator, Leopoldo Benedetti. The new tariff set by Colombia and Venezuelan merchant defaults have brought serious problems to trade movement, which has caused traders to mobilize and seek alternative markets such as Bolivia, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, Peru and Ecuador, among others.

Wider road to Boquete

requires Dolega demolition

After paying the Municipality of Dolega part of the compensation for the seven buildings that will be demolished for obstructing the Dolega-David-Boquete road widening, the Ministry of Public Works (MOP) granted a period of 15 days for their eviction. The regional director of MOP, Roberto Lezcano, revealed that he presented a check for $311,728 to the Mayor of Dolega, Lino Pittí, equivalent to 70% of the value of those assets that will disappear, and 90% for land. The total estimated amount is $376,510.

Energy rationing continues

This week the measures to save energy because of lack of power in Panama due to drought continued. Public and private offices were required to keep the air conditioners off fom 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Contraversial bill to

allow foreign doctors

The bill that simplifies the process for hiring foreign doctors, approved by the Cabinet on Tuesday at the request of the Ministry of Health (MOH) is described as a “threat” to the public health system by the National Negotiating Medical Commission (Comenenal).

Metro trains to arrive

There is a 82% advance in construction of Line 1 of the Panama Metro. This was announced by the Minister for Canal Affairs and Secretary of the Metro, Roberto Roy, who said that in 10 days maximum the first three trains that are part of this transport system will arrive in the country. The trains come from Santa Perpetua, in Barcelona, Spain, and are expected to arrive at the port of Manzanillo, in Colon, on May 25.

BBB and stable

Fitch Ratings affirmed the Panama risk rating at BBB with a stable outlook highlighting the institutionalization of the dollar as legal tender, the soundness of the financial sector and strong growth of the Panamanian economy.

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