Isthmian Update – Vol. 21#36

Rehabilitation of Pan American on track

An advance of over 44% has been recorded on the rehabilitation and expansion of the Pan American Highway, specifically in the section between San Felix and Vigui in the province of Chiriqui. The work, being done by Meco, S.A., at a cost of $223.7 million, includes the construction of 41.7 kilometers of roads, widening of existing vehicular bridges and installation of new infrastructure.

Martinelli implicated in the Financial Pacific scandal

Former president of the Republic, Ricardo Martinelli, could face criminal proceedings. The judges of the Supreme Court are expecting certified documents that link Martinelli to the Financial Pacific (FP) case. The president of the judicial body, Jose Ayu Prado, said that as soon as these documents are forwarded, the Court will decide whether to admit new charges.

Banco Universal to be sold

Banco Universal has 18 financial institutions interested in buying and reorganizing the bank, that was taken over by the Bank Superintendence SBP) in May this year. The SBP will receive stakeholder proposals from September 30 to October 3. The superintendent added that since June 15 it has a “clear diagnosis” to allow the reorganization of the bank.

Favorable growth for Panama

The Economic Commission for Latin America (ECLAC) predicted a favorable economy for Panama and superior growth to all other countries of the continent. The information was given in a business symposium on economic and financial projections (2015-2016) of the Panamanian Chamber of Construction (CAPAC). Hugo Beteta, Director of the Sub-Regional Headquarters of ECLAC in Mexico, explained that dynamism is expected in the second year of governance.

No tax incentives for Corozal Port

Resistance to tax equalization for the future concessionaire of the port of Corozal not only was rejected by the political opposition, but other sectors consider that giving tax benefits is not the right thing to do, mainly because the government is seeking ways to increase revenues. The other factor is that occupying a space on the Pacific side of the canal is so attractive that it does not require extra benefits, which will be an impediment to the shipping world interested in participating in the international bidding to build the new port.

Stock market is depressed

The Panamanian stock market shows no signs of improvement, and for the month of July this year, the operations of the total market in the Panama Stock Exchange (BVP) only totaled $2,888 million, $362 million less than in the same period of 2014, when the total operations reached $3,250 billion.

Job losses in Colón Free Zone

Maria Vanessa Ford, a director of the Colón Free Zone Users’ Association (AU) said that the duty free area is currently in the intensive care ward. Ford added that the number of companies operating in this area has been reduced, and they have had to cut, more than 9,000 jobs in just two years.

Colón Free Zone Users demand fewer taxes

A General Assembly meeting of the Colón Free Zone Users’ Association approved sending to the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (Mici) and the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) a formal request that all fees be adjusted and eliminate those taxes that affect the competitiveness of the Free Zone (CFZ).

Insurance company to exchange information with Fire Brigade

The Panama Fire Brigade (BCBRP) and Mapfre Foundation in recent days signed an agreement on information cooperation in the framework of the celebration of “October, the month of fire prevention” under the slogan “Century XXI, Fire Department leadership, the best firefighter you can have”. The agreement was signed between the BCBRP Col. Jaime Vargas Villar and the CEO of Mapfre Foundation, Dino Mon.

$700 million in Power Plants

The tender for up to 350 megawatts of power, from 2018, will inject close to $700 million in new investment in power plants. The invitation to tender called by the Electric Transmission Company, SA (Etesa) sparked the interest of 27 energy generating companies.

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