Isthmian update is a compilation of recent news from Panama with information on business, politics and the economy.
Some 44,582 new cars will be added to the vehicle fleet in the district of Panama during 2016. According to a report of the Treasury of the Municipality of Panama, this would bring to 535,762 the number of plates to be issued by the municipality this year. Around 491,180 plates were issued in 2015. The local government raised about $16.8 million from them last year.
The Panama Metro has crossed national borders. The UK magazine “Times Supplement” published an article entitled “What makes the best subway in the world?” and the Panamanian model is included. According to the London newspaper, Line 1 is not only one of the newest in the world, but also the fastest growing. The publication said that recently it carried a record of 273,000 passengers per day and it is expected to transport 40,000 people per hour in each direction by the year 2035, when it should have four lines.
No arrest warrant?
Lawyers of former President Ricardo Martinelli went to the Foreign Ministry to obtain information on an alleged request for extradition issued against the former president, but they confirmed that nothing has reached the ministry related to that topic. Indeed, the defense lawyers of the former president received a copy of the arrest warrant that was produced by the magistrate, Jerome Mejia, the investigating judge in the case for alleged telephone and computer tapping.
The 34th edition of the commercial Expocomer fair closed this year with figures that surpassed the records of 2015. Business transactions totaled $131 million, about $7 million more than in the previous edition. This was confirmed by the Center for Economic Studies at the Chamber of Commerce of Panama, which also explained that commercial sales were about $40 million.
New free zone
In just one month the country will formalize the creation of its ninth free zone at the Tocumen International Airport, if Tocumen, S.A.’s request is approved in its request to the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, on Friday February 11 the public Company explained that its application arises due to the demands of increased volume of air cargo passing through the airport.
“It is crucial for Panama to build more ports as countries such as Colombia are doing in the logistics sector”, warned Roberto Roy, Minister for Canal Affairs and head of the Panama Metro. In an interview with the news agency, Efe, Roy, an engineer with almost four decades of experience in matters related to the Canal,argued that “freight demand will continue to increase,” although the ports sector has been affected by fluctuations in recent years related to the global crisis.
Audit for Coastal Strip 3
Civil society leaders demanded that the Comptroller, Federico Humbert, audit the cost of the Coastal Strip 3, built by the Brazilian Company, Odebrecht, for $782 million during the past government. The request came after the Brazilian judicial authorities sentenced to 19 years and 4 months in prison Marcelo Odebrecht, president of the construction company for the alleged crimes of corruption and money laundering.
A new drinking water source
President Juan Carlos Varela asked the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) that Lake Bayano be incorporated into the supply of drinking water for the country. The ACP already provides drinking water at the request of the president. The ACP Administrator, Jorge Luis Quijano, one month ago highlighted the reasons why current demand has been met.
New locks facilitate transport of LNG
The Panama Canal estimates that from 2020, with the new locks in operation, “approximately 25 million metric tons of liquefied natural gas (LNG) will transit the canal every year,” said its administrator, Jorge Luis Quijano. “The discovery of large gas reserves in the area of the Gulf of Mexico of the United States, in recent years has opened the opportunity for the first exports of liquefied natural gas in a matter of months, and given the expansion of the locks, the gas could move through the Panama Canal on the route linking the Gulf area (of Mexico) with Asian countries, especially South Korea and Japan,” said Quijano.