Isthmian Update September 2

Cement pollution

Isthmian Update September 2. The construction of a concrete dispensing plant in Coco del Mar, an exclusive neighborhood of San Francisco, has residents on “alert.” Members of the Coco del Mar Residents Environmental Network Association staged a protest to show their rejection of the project and demand that the authorities stop it. The concrete plant will be installed within a space of 2,000 square meters, where a 26-storey building will rise.

Troublesome legislation

Nine Latin American countries, including Panama, proposed a meeting to discuss the policy which they say promotes illegal migration of Cubans to the continent. The foreign ministers of Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru and Panama sent a letter dated August 16 to US Secretary of State, John Kerry, in which they expressed concern about the US Cuban Adjustment Act, which, since 1966, has given privileges with residence permits to Cubans who reach the United States.

Victims of the Clinton List

With the passing of time, the financial situation of the 65 shops that still operate in Soho Mall, has become increasingly worse. Doménico Ferrante, a spokesman for the tenants of the mall, indicates that sales have fallen by 50%, and that in the absence of inventories, 12 shops will close down in the coming weeks, adding to the ranks of the 15 stores that have already ceased operations. “There are shops that cannot survive a month without sales and there are others that have failed to replenish their inventories since last May,” he said. The stores are victims of the “Clinton List”, on which the US Treasury placed the mall owners, the Waked family, without a valid judicial reason.

A guaranteed energy supply

The third power transmission line has advanced by 85% according to the Minister of Economy and Finance, Dulcidio De La Guardia. It is expected that the work will be operational in the first quarter of 2017 and will guarantee the supply of energy that will be needed by the country’s growing population. De La Guardia, who is also chairman of the board of the Electricity Transmission Company (ETESA), explained that the project will carry 800 MW of electricity to consumption centers, particularly in major cities.

Matching rate

A lawsuit was filed against the National Highway Company (ENA), for increasing tolls on the Southern Corridor. The matter will be analyzed by the members of the Provincial Chamber of Transport. This measure, according to the president of this organization, Rafael Reyes, is affecting heavy vehicles. According to ENA, what happened in the Southern Corridor is not an increase but a “matching of the rate with other toll booths to avoid congestion.

Explaining the third set of locks

The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) will begin a tour for the different communities of Darien province to explain the operation of the waterway. According to the administrator of the ACP, Jorge Luis Quijano, the organization will show the impact of the expanded Canal and the opportunities open to the country through a series of activities, including a museum, documentaries and dynamic presentations for students.

Beware of false mechanics

A new type of scam is being reported in different parts of the country. It is people who falsely tell drivers they are mechanics and manage to get sums ranging from $450 to $600. One of those affected complained that the strategy used is that first a driver who is close to a toll booth is told that he is riding on the rim, then later another person claiming to be a mechanic comes and says the same thing and offers to fix it. This worries the driver of the vehicle who then stops at an automatic bank teller to withdraw the money to pay for the repair.

Isthmian Update September 2: Low taxes

According to the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) in a study, called “Agenda 2030 for sustainable development and challenges for financing for development” Panama has lower taxes in comparison with other countries in the region

No more hydroelectric plants

The Ngäbe-Bugle and Small Farmers’ General Congress have demanded the cancellation of the Barro Blanco hydroelectric project. In a statement Liborio Miranda, secretary general of the group, explained that all the people affected by the project and environmentalists have unanimously agreed to protest and close roads at different points between Bocas del Toro and David, Chiriqui.

Bad debt

Panama’s economy already has had six consecutive quarters with a sharp decline, according to former Minister of Economy and Finance, Frank De Lima, and it could decline at a faster pace if the government expedites the implementation of the budget slowdown. De Lima said on Nex TV that the business sector is concerned, because it is owed more than $2,500 million, so much so, that “there are small contractors who are going bankrupt”.

Stronger economy

According to the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) in the coming months the strongest economies in the region will be the Dominican Republic (6%) and Panama (5.9%). However, ECLAC also predicts that the regional economy will be reduced by 0.8%. In the report submitted by Datanalisis Market Research, -a company with 30 years of experience in the Andean, Central American and Caribbean markets, there will be buoyant economic activity. The report analyzed the main macroeconomic indicators in nine countries in the region.

Uncertain future

The bankruptcy process of R. G. Hotels has been paralyzed. Since November last year there has been no movement with no impact for investors who bought bonds worth $30 million. The bankruptcy was issued on October 21, 2015, but with retroactive effect from July 31, 2012. In the midst of what promises to be a long and complex process, creditors of R. G. Hotels and Casa de Campo Farallon are trapped. It was founded by Rugiere Galvez Marcucci for the development of a huge hotel and residential center in the Panamanian Pacific sector, but is now drowning in debt.

Esencial Costa Rica

Panama’s Copa Airlines became the first airline to get the licence to use the country brand “Esencial Costa Rica,” the slogan used by the Costa Rican authorities to promote that Central American nation. This was announced in an official event by Costa Rican authorities. There are already 117 companies using the “Esencial Costa Rica” brand, according to its Foreign Trade Promoter (PROCOMER).

Not true

The Minister of Economy and Finance, Dulcidio De La Guardia, rejected the ranking the Department of Financial Services (DFS) in New York gave to Panama. It identified the Isthmus as an area of high risk for money laundering. The New York State regulator made these statements in a document which showed that the Taiwanese bank, Mega International Commercial Bank, was fined $180 million for failing to comply with US standards of prevention of money laundering. Panama “has historically been recognized as a high-risk jurisdiction for money laundering” said the document, explaining why “Panamanian transactions between the banking center and the New York office of the bank should have been given greater scrutiny.

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