Isthmian Update – Some of the news in Panama

Public debt increases

The stock of public debt increased in the past year by $1,968.8 million – an amount comparable to the cost of the first Metro line of Panama, according to the Department of Public Credit of the Ministry of Economy and Finance. In August 2013, the state had a debt of $15,752.9 million. A year later, the total sum owed is $17,721.7 million.

Vice president visits Cuba

The Vice President and Foreign Minister of Panama, Isabel Saint Malo de Alvarado, traveled to Havana on Thursday, September 18, on an official one-day visit to promote attendance of Cuba at the Seventh Summit of the Americas, in addition to discussions on bilateral relations, according to a statement from the Panamanian Foreign Ministry.

Outsourcing of tax collection to end

The Government of Panama will end the “outsourcing” of tax collection and audit the company that was hired by the administration of President Ricardo Martinelli, it was announced by the Minister of Economy and Finance Dulcidio De la Guardia. At a news conference he announced that the government is waiting for “legal limits” to affect the demise of the National Tax Authority of Panama (ANIP), an autonomous entity created during the Martinelli administration (2009-2014), an act declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

Panama energy crisis

The crisis in the Panamanian energy sector is serious. Figures from the Comptroller’s Office revealed that in the past three years the import of electricity from Central America increased by 1,700%. From January to July 2012, import of electricity was 9.9 billion kilowatt-hours and in the same period of 2013 the entry of electricity totaled 67.8 million kilowatt-hours. However, in the first seven months of 2014, the figure reached 178.1 million kilowatt-hours.

New fuel prices

From 6:00 a.m., Monday September 19 to Friday October 3 new fuel prices will come into effect, according to Decree No.27623. In the province of Panama, the price for 95-octane gasoline will be $1.09 per liter, 91 octane gasoline $0.99 per liter, and diesel LS $0.94 a liter. Meanwhile, 95 octane gasoline with ethanol selling only in the capital city will be priced at $1.08 a liter. Finally, the 91E5 gasoline will cost $0.99.

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