Isthmian Update Some of the news in Panama

Loan portfolio grows

The loan portfolio of private Panamanian banks continues to grow. In the first nine months of this year the financial sector gave out $9.735.8 million in loans, according to figures from the Superintendence of Banks of Panama (SBP). The figure represents an increase of $995.6 million over the same period last year, when the credits totaled $8.780.2 million.

Meeting to prevent energy crisis

The National Government called a meeting with directors of the National Council of Private Enterprise (Conep) in order to coordinate and report the measures taken to prevent an energy crisis in the summer, as happened this year. This was stated by the Minister of the Presidency, Roberto Henriquez, who chaired the meeting, which was attended by senior representatives of business associations in the country and government authorities that regulate the energy sector.

Panamanians lack faith in police operations

One third of Panamanians feel insecure with police operations at year-end, reveals the latest “Panama Review” prepared by Ipsos for Telemetro Report and La Estrella. In the opinion poll, 34% of respondents called for reinforcing the strategies of the authorities, to prevent theft during the Christmas and New Year festivities as well as preventing traffic jams to and from the interior of the country.

Portuguese airline plans flights to Panama

The Portuguese airline TAP has announced that during the first half of 2014 it will begin flying to ten new destinations, including the capital of Colombia, Bogotá, and to Panama. In a press release disseminated through social media, the company president, Fernando Pinto, also reported that routes will connect Portugal with the Brazilian cities of Manaus and Belém. “In the year 2013 passenger numbers grew by 5%, but still we want to grow more,” said the head of the company, owned by the Portuguese State. It is expected to be privatized during 2014.

Mosquito spraying to intensify

The Ministry of Health, plans to intensify spraying throughout the country in order to combat the breeding of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which transmit dengue. These actions are part of the health alert decreed by MINSA last Friday, following the deaths of two people from dengue, and they include fumigation and inspection of homes and punishment of those where breeding sites are detected in their homes.

Export of produce in 2013

Coffee, cocoa, pineapple, banana and peppers have been the most exported crops in 2013. The Deputy Minister of Foreign Trade, José Pacheco Tejeira, said that this year the ministry has been working to position coffee in the foreign markets, such as Shanghai, China and Taiwan. Producers in the area of Bocas del Toro and the company COCABO are exporting “Gourmet” Cocoa to Europe and for 2014 this is shaping up to become one of the biggest exports. Bananas, unroasted coffee, shrimp, pineapple and melons, among other things, are part of the main products exported by Panama to the European Union (EU), this block being the main destination for agricultural products. The EU market is 149 times greater than that of Panama, accounting for the country’s second largest trading partner with 31% of exports. The United States remains the largest partner with 38%.

Telethon 2013

The 20-30 Telethon raised $4,006,912 this year, reported the Active 20-30 Club president, Carlos Garcia de Paredes. The collection will create centers of physical medicine and rehabilitation for children and adults in the health centers at 24th December, in the Nicholas A. Solano Hospital and also includes retrofitting and upgrading the Reintegrating centers in Chiriquí, Veraguas, Herrera, Colón, Los Santos, Cocle and Darien.

Zebus to be exported to Brazil

The Zebu Breeders Association in Panama (Cricepa), headed by Norberto Delgado, met with bankers and the Peruvian Ambassador in Panama, Guillermo Russo Checa, to discuss the exportation of the breed to Brazil next year following Panama’s achievment of high genetic results. According to Delgado, it is important for Panama to become an exporter of high genetic cattle to the Latin American region and thus strengthen its phytosanitary advantage.

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