Isthmian Update Some of the news in Panama

Red alert for banks

The historical relationship between Panama and Venezuela has deteriorated as the South American country restricted the access of their businessmen to dollars. This has reduced their number of transactions with the Colon Free Zone (CFZ), one of their main markets, which fell by almost half between 2012 and 2013. This drop was from $3 billion to around $1,700 million. The Superintendence of Banks of Panama (SBP) saw the red light and required banks exposed to the Free Zone debt to raise their reserves.

Energy saving measures

Since last week, the energy saving measures in state agencies and the business and industrial sectors have intensified. In government offices, air conditioners are turned on one hour after work starts and turned off an hour before the day ends. The equipment will be set to no less than 24 degrees C. Excluded from this measures are health institutions and schools.

Another energy crisis

Although the government says there is no energy crisis, the fact is that for the second consecutive year, the national electricity system is operating under pressure during the dry season. The explosion of the control panel at the Pan Am thermoelectric generating plant reduced the operating margin between electricity generation and demand, which now reaches 1,400 megawatts.

Immigration status fair

Foreigners residing in Panama and who wish to legalize their immigration status should go to Isla Colon, in the province of Bocas del Toro. In this region, from April 7 to 11, the National Immigration System (NMS) will hold the fourteenth extraordinary migratory regularization process called the “Melting Pot.” The event will take place in the parish of Our Lady of Carmen from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Panamanian coffee for Taiwan

Six companies that are part of the Taiwanese Coffee Association ended a tour of 22 days in Central American countries in order to buy coffee to market in their nation. Taiwanese businessmen aspiring to acquire the Chiriqui harvest this year, concluded their tour in Panama, visiting coffee growing areas of Renacimiento, Bugaba and Boquete, where they tasted the different varieties of specialty coffee, such as Geisha, Catuai and Caturra.

Technologically advanced Panama

In the past five years, the Panamanian government has advanced its technology platform, according to the World Economic Forum in the e-government index of the United Nations. Eduardo Jaen, general administrator of the National Authority for Government Innovation, said Panama is among the top positions of Latin America countries in the use of technologies to provide quality public services with diligence and transparency.

More trains during peak hours

Deivis Cerrud announced that there would not be the same number of trains running all day on the Panama Metro. The Minister of Canal Affairs and Executive Secretary of the Metro, Roberto Roy, explains that during peak hours it is likely that there will be 18 trains in operation and one in reserve. This frequency of service is expected between 5:00 a.m. and 7:30 a.m., and from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Outside of these hours, known as “off-peak,” between noon and early afternoon, there will be fewer trains.

Metro to solve public transport problems

The director of the ATTT Urban Mobility, Edwin Juarez, has said that the Metro, which will open on April 5, will improve the transportation system. With the Metro, says Juarez, the traffic jams recorded during peak hours will be reduced. The Metro has a capacity to transport 40,000 people per hour.

No more problems for Canal expansion

The agreement to resume the Panama Canal expansion in 2015 allows for it to be completed without interruption and with the same number of workers as prior to the recent slowdown due to lack of liquidity, said the president of the Spanish construction company Sacyr, Manuel Manrique, during an interview with the EFE news agency: “The agreement has set the conditions to avoid any further problems.”

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