Seeing the light
At the end of 2015 the third set of locks of the Panama Canal could be ready, which is now 80% complete, said the administrator of the interoceanic route, Jorge Quijano. The Panama Canal Authority considers that the project, which is a year late, will conclude within its initial budget and only increase if they lose any of the litigation claims of different groups for overruns, such as Unidos por el Canal, which is claiming some $1,600 million.
Customs need friends
The Customs Authority (ANA) needs to find “friendly” institutions to channel its modernization project next year. All indications are that the entity will be allocated $31.5 million, a figure, according to its executives, “below expectation,” although it is three million higher than that assigned to it this year. Customs director, Jose Gomez, said they would work with the support of the Inter-American Development Bank to maintain its upgrade program, which includes expediting cargo movement processes, a key point, according to economists, to be at competitive levels.
The Panama Canal is projected to have low growth in cargo volume for 2015 due to less dynamic behavior expected of the global economy. “We hope we are wrong and come out more positive,” said Canal administrator, Jorge Luis Quijano at a press conference. He explained that he was particularly concerned about the impact of European economies after Germany’s decision to restrict spending. Europe is a good customer for its Canal cargo movement from along the west coast of South America.
Colombian deposits in the Panamanian International Banking Center amounted, at the end of second quarter, to $6,549 million, 8.8% of total deposits of the Panamanian center. Colombia is the main source of funds coming from abroad to the banking center and the Colombian authorities want access to collect information on its citizens in Panama, information that is protected by law.
Although Grupo Unidos por el Canal (GUPC) must deliver the third set of locks according to the original date set in the contract, the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) gave an additional 15 days to the consortium to deliver the work because of a strike by workers. The extension begins on November 5, when GUPC must deliver the work or otherwise the $300,000 a day penalty will begin to run for the delay up to a maximum of $54 million.
The management of Tocumen, SA is evaluating the addendas signed by the past presidential administration of Ricardo Martinelli, covering contracts for cleaning, maintenance of green areas and security. The companies offering the service at the main airport were also to deal with these activities at terminals of Rio Hato, Colon, David and Howard which, since January, are under the administration of Tocumen.
Free zone slow
The commercial movement of the Colon Free Zone (CFZ) is going from bad to worse, as a result of the conflicts facing the emporium with two of its main markets, Colombia and Venezuela. The statistics speak for themselves. Total trade in Panama’s Colon Free Zone decreased by $2,920 million in the first nine months of 2014, compared with the same period last year.
The Cabinet approved the resolution breaking a contract between the Panama Maritime Authority (AMP) and Vertikal Corporation, Inc., a company linked to members of the inner circle of power of former President Ricardo Martinelli. Vertikal had a 20-year concession that allowed the use of 4.5 hectares of seafloor with the bank of a river in the wetland of Panama Bay, but the AMP determined revoking this contract when it found that the company did not provide the guarantees and policies of risk insurance, and did not have operating permits.
A senior executive of the Latin American Development Bank (CAF) said the capital of Panama requires a cargo distribution center and that the agency is willing to work with the Government and the private sector to carry out the project. The Panamanian capital includes the southern sector of the Panama Canal, through which about 6% of world trade moves, and three major ports, where goods are unloaded for distribution to local and international destinations.
Panama’s National Assembly approved a bill authorizing the minting of $3 million in coins to commemorate the centenary of the Panama Canal, a parliamentary source said. The full Legislature supported the initiative in the third and final debate of Bill 90 that “exalts the history of the waterway through coinage of twenty dollar” collectors’ coins, said a statement from the assembly.
Panama leads Central America in foreign direct investment (FDI) for a total of $2,575 million in the first half of this year, while El Salvador is on the end of the line with $25 million in the same period. A report by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) said that between January and June Panama attracted 26% more of FDI, compared to the $2,045 million for the same period of 2013.
All that glitters…
Investors who backed Petaquilla Minerals with their funds will continue to expect reports on the true state of the finances of the Canadian capital company. The company, that has rights to Molejón in the district of Donoso-Colón, through its subsidiary, Petaquilla Gold, this year has not produced an ounce of gold.
Before his disappearance on November 16, 2012, Vernon Ramos, Deputy Director of Financial Analysis of the Auditing Department of the Superintendence of Securities, communicated by Skype with Mayté Pellegrini, the only company official of the Financial Pacific brokerage firm in prison for financial embezzlement of $14 million from the brokerage, where she served as assistant in the “back office.” She said he needed to know about Forex Financial, Jal Offshore Account and High Spirit. Pellegrini stated this before the prosecutor Roberto Moreno, head of the office of the Special Prosecutor for Organized Crime.
Although the deputies of the National Assembly have a number of privileges, the first vice president of that institution, the Revolutionary Democratic Party (PRD) deputy, Benicio Robinson, asked for more privileges for the members of that body. Robinson asked the President of the Assembly, Adolfo Valderrama, that the latest model cars be bought for members of the board of the legislature. Meanwhile, alternate deputies have asked for an increase in their salaries. The Assembly budget for 2015 is $71.5 million.
Tax income down
Tax revenues in the first half of the year suffered a slight drop compared with the same period last year. According to preliminary figures, at June 30, 2014, tax revenues totaled $2,360 million, $21 million below the amount collected in the first half of 2013. Direct taxes, meanwhile, fell by $63 million (4.8%). According to preliminary figures from the National Revenue Authority (ANIP), the income tax for natural persons (individuals), legal persons (companies) and complementary tax, among others, are below the revenue in the first six months of last year.
Mew trade deal
The Free Trade Agreement between the Kingdom of Norway, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and Iceland (“EFTA States”) and the Confederation region has become effective with Panama and Costa Rica. The announcement was made in a statement from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (Mici) yesterday. According to the release, in Iceland the FTA will take effect on September 5.
The Panamanian flag remained on the maritime “white list” of the Paris Memorandum of Understanding (Paris MOU), according to the 2013 report published by the European body. The Paris MOU is an international agreement reached by European countries to ensure maritime safety standards in terms of ships, from a system of selective inspections.
Free Zones Blossom
The Free Zone Association of Panama (Azofrap) is looking towards 14 to 50 zones being set up this year, and for this, they signed an agreement of strategic partnership with the Panamanian Chamber of Construction (CAPAC) to further develop the country as a center of multimodal global reach. In Panama there are multisectoral, commercial, industrial, services and logistics zones, special economic zones, processing zones, free trade zones and integrated free zones.
Panama took position No.52 in the Global Innovation Index (GII), but was third at regional level, surpassed only by Barbados (41) and Chile (46) The Global Innovation Index measures the performance of countries on issues such as science, technology and innovation. The world ranking of 2014 made Switzerland the leader for the fourth consecutive year, followed by the UK, Sweden, Finland, the Netherlands and the United States, according to research that analyzed 143 countries.
About 120 Latin American companies participated from October 21 to 23 in the sixth edition of the innovation, technology and business fair, BIZ FIT Panama, seeking to position Panama as a center of innovative trade of the Americas, said event organizers. The event involved experts in decision-making and business leadership, specialists and suppliers of technology solutions for business.
ANIP in trouble
The Supreme Court decided to declare unconstitutional Act 24 of 8 April 2013, which created the National Revenue Authority (Anip), in the government of Ricardo Martinelli. The decision was made to settle a lawsuit filed by the lawyers Miguel Antonio Bernal and Luis Rogelio Garcia. Five of the nine justices who voted in favor of the illegality of the rule were appointed by Martinelli.
People can travel on direct flights from Madrid to Panama. The airline Iberia will arrive at Tocumen Airport with an Airbus A330 aircraft with 36 seats in first class and 242 in business and tourist class, totaling 278 seats. The Iberia flight will arrive at Tocumen at 3:40 p.m., and will depart at 5:10 p.m, every day of the week. The percentage of passengers traveling to Panama is 60%, while the rest connect to other parts of the continent.
Betting for the first quarter totaled $583.2 million, an additional $17.3 million compared to the same period last year. This increase of 3% is less than the 12% that has been recorded in the past four years. A report from the Gaming Control Board (JCJ) indicates that gamblers showed less interest for tempting fate in bingo halls and at gaming tables available in full casinos. The stakes in this variety of game declined compared to last year.
Cable & Wireless Panama, SA (CWP) reported revenue of $591 million on the Stock Exchange in London, England, for fiscal year 2013-2014, says a new economic report of the company. During 17 years of business in Panama, the company has contributed over $6,292 million to the development of the economy. From 1997 to March 31, 2014 it has paid $786 million in dividends to the State for the benefit of employees of the company, and paid $683 million in total taxes.