Isthmian Update – Vol. 21#47

Deficient transmission line

Hydropower is contributing more than 60% of the electricity consumed in the country, however, due to the lack of capacity in the transmission line, many plants continue to waste water. According to the report of operations of the National Dispatch Center, there were 1,482 megawatts of demand on Wednesday, of which 66% were generated by hydroelectric plants, 20% from bunker, 10%, from diesel, 2.5%, self-generation and less than 1% from solar and wind power plants.

Expensive parking

Resolution 684 of October 22, 2015, which regulates the amount of parking that new residential projects must have, could increase the price of the apartments, said the construction sector guilds. They added that the middle class will be the most affected by this regulation by having to pay more when buying a new place.

Defaulting borrowers

The mortgages portfolio has grown by 14.1% over a year, reported the Panamanian Credit Association SA (APC). The credit company reported that 12,597 debtors have defaulted for more than three months on housing loans, representing a total of $1,771,188,312.

El Niño effect

The severe drought that has plagued crops in Central America, exacerbated by the El Niño weather phenomenon, has caused about 2.3 million people to need food assistance in Panama, alerted the World Food Program (WFP). “$75 million is needed to assist the food supply of the low income population that has been hit by severe drought (in Central America)”, reported the WFP director for Latin America and the Caribbean, Miguel Barreto.

Food hub

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) informed the Panamanian government of its plans to strengthen its headquarters in the country and become the “hub” of food in the region, an official said. The issue was discussed during a meeting between the Panamanian Vice Minister of Multilateral Affairs and Cooperation, Maria Luisa Navarro, and the new coordinator of the FAO Office in Panama City, Tito Ephraim.

Financial coalition against ISIS

“Panama has no army, Panama will not participate in the military coalition,” said the Vice President and Foreign Minister, Isabel de Saint Malo de Alvarado. However, the Panamanian official said the country will participate in a committee that has to do with the financial system in the fight against terrorism.

Ports monopoly

A few months before starting the operation of the new locks and amid the proposal from the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) to bid for the concession of the port of Corozal, Panama Ports Company (PPC), which operates the ports of Balboa and Cristobal, proposed the Corozal concession should be given to them, so they can increase their control on the Pacific side of the Canal.

Empowering women

The Medcom group and the City of Knowledge Foundation signed a cooperation agreement concerning the project “Channel of Entrepreneurs”, which aims to develop the role of women in society.

High unemployment

Unemployment in Panama rose to the highest level in the past four years, according to the household survey done by the Comptroller’s Office. The report reveals that in August this year total unemployment stood at 5.1%. This represents an increase of 0.3% over the same month last year, when it stood at 4.8%.

Join Panapass

Users transiting from Monday, November 16 on the new stretch of the Northern Corridor from Tocumen to Brisas del Golf, will have to pay the toll, which was free for a month. The National Highway Company (ENA) urged users who have not yet affiliated with the Panapass to do so in the installation centers and customer service centers located in front of the Atlapa Convention Center and at Albrook, from Monday to Friday from 7:00 a.m., to 7:00 p.m., and Saturdays from 8:00 a.m., to 5:00 p.m. Tolls will be the same for motorcycles, cars and pick-ups in the booths of Brisas del Golf ($1.25.); Las Lajas ($1.25.); Villalobos ($1.35.); Rana de Oro ($1.50) and the Panamericana ($2.40).

Rice production is up

Despite the drought caused by El Niño, rice production has improved in Chepo and Darien, said the Minister of Agricultural Development (MIDA), Jorge Arango. “Chepo and Darien broke the record. There was an increase of 5,000 hectares planted. More than normal has been planted in Chepo,” said Arango, referring to the harvest this year.

The first LNG ship crosses the Canal

The first ship powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG) to transit the Panama Canal was the American-flagged container ship, the Isla Bella. The use of LNG as fuel in the United States defines an important change for the maritime industry. With the use of this fuel, pollution of the environment is reduced by a large percentage, so that the whole world will benefit from the use of this product, said the Vice President of Operations of the Panama Canal, Esteban Saenz.

Great for multinationals

Strategic location, transport links, tax benefits, infrastructure, the dollar, good environment for foreign employees and Panamanian talent are some of the reasons that attract multinationals to Panama, said Martin Alvarez, former executive director for Dell Latin America.

March against domestic violence

A dozen social organizations announced a march against gender violence on November 25 in Panama City, denouncing the “lack of political will” and “limited resources” destined to eradicate this social scourge. “Women continue to be killed under the tolerant gaze of the institutions responsible for creating policies that protect their rights,” said in a statement signed by the National Union of Panamanian Women and Women with Dignity and Rights.

WTO workshops

The World Trade Organization (WTO) is offering a permanent workshop at the headquarters of the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino) in Panama, for international trade leaders and academics of the commercial sector in the region, said the Latin American legislative body. The workshop is intended for all representatives of chambers of commerce, institutes of business and economic studies, and academic centers and specialized technical schools, to deepen the knowledge of the WTO general rules. According to the spokesman of the Division of Information and Foreign Affairs of that organization, Josep Bosch, the purpose of the workshop is to understand the concerns of representatives on international trade.

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