Isthmian Update September 28

Tocumen parking bid

Isthmian Update September 28. Tocumen, SA, operator of the international airport which has the same name, decided to call several companies to compete to win the contract for the construction of a new terminal parking lot, a project that will cost $8.7 million. The last administration of the airport left the door open for Norberto Odebrecht, the company in charge of the expansion of Tocumen at a cost of $800 million, to build the parking spaces too.

Environmental damage

The deforestation and environmental damage caused by the company North Properties on 5.8 hectares in the Panama Canal watershed were calculated, two years ago, at more than $830,000 by technicians of the Panama Canal Authority (ACP). Nevertheless, the work continued. After the findings in January, 2014, inspectors considered that North Properties should pay for the restoration of the area. They replied that the former National Environmental Authority had granted permits to the company.

Waked’s bank merger

Canal Bank, owned by the Waked Group, opened its 11 branches in the country and formalized the merger with Banco Universal, owned by the Virzi family and intervened by the Superintendency of Banks for alleged money laundering. With a portfolio of 25,000 customers, Canal Bank has $400 million in assets.

Dangerous foreigners

The National Immigration Service have denied entry to the country to 832 foreigners who are considered “dangerous”. The measures were taken at the Tocumen airport and other ports of entry in the country, based on Article 50 of Decree Law 3 of February 22, 2008, related to criminal records, said a statement of the Ministry of Security.

More foreign food handlers

According to the director of the Metropolitan Health Region, Aurelio Rangel, this year 12,551 green cards and more than 12,000 white cards (good health) were issued to foreigners working in the food-handling sector. He explained that foreigners submitted copies of their ID card and work permit, because without these documents they cannot enter the process.

Fluid communication

According to Usha Mayani, president of the Colon Free Zone Users’ Association (AUZLC), it is important to maintain a fluid communication between the Panama Maritime Authority (AMP) and the Free Zone, especially to address issues that affect them both, such as a logistics center. Mayani’s words were given in reference to Resolution ADM-125-2016 on weighing containers – under the SOLAS Convention (Safety of Life at Sea).

Isthmian Update September 28: Peanuts for Panama

Nicaragua G Investments, business group showed interest in considering Panama as a future destination for their investments in planting peanuts, due to favorable agro-ecological conditions and tax incentives offered by the nation. The information was disclosed following a field visit made by Horacio Rose, on behalf of the company, to production areas in Alanje and Baru, Chiriqui province, which were considered appropriate for growing peanuts.

More mergers

The domestic financial sector in the medium term could start a process of consolidation that would result in reducing the number of players involved in banking and insurance activities. The high competition, new regulatory requirements and the need to gain volume to maintain relations with international peers, could lead to a series of mergers and acquisitions to generate higher volume by the entities.

Reduced prices

After many years, the trend of prices for building materials is moving downwards, according to a recent report by the Comptroller’s Office. According to the entity responsible for national statistics, in the period accumulated from January to August 2016, compared to the same months last year, the price of espavé wood dropped 2.3%, stone by 0.8% and gray cement in bags of 94 pounds by 0.2%.

Hotel occupation woes

The fall in hotel occupancy continues and is placed at 48%, according to figures for the first seven months of the year. Tourism industry figures indicate that there are 10,498 hotel rooms in the country and the daily average occupancy is 5,103.

Naval exercises

Naval units from 13 countries have recently been in Panama for the 2016 Unitas exercises with focus on their preparation to confront organized crime and illegal migration and fishing, as the new major threats on the seas. Authorities noted that much has changed since the first of these multinational practices held 57 years ago off the coast of Venezuela, when a group of American countries worked with the United States against the Soviet Union

Middle East approach

Strengthening trade and cooperative relations among nations was the purpose of the bilateral meeting held between President Juan Carlos Varela and the Emir of Qatar, Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. In the framework of the 71st edition of the General Assembly of the United Nations, Varela stressed that investments of Qatari companies, such as Qatar Dairy, have contributed to the development of the special economic area, Panama Pacific.

Expensive education

A blow to the pocket awaits parents according to data collected on increases in both the registration fee and the annuity for the school year 2017 compared to 2016. The findings were made by the Authority for Consumer Protection and Defense of Competition (ACODECO), who wanted to know how much tuition fees will rise for the regular student. The survey was conducted on a group of education centers in Panama City, where there have been requests for information on the cost of tuition (or registration) and tuition (annuity).

The Clinton List Curse

According to entrepreneur and former Panamanian President, Ernesto Perez Balladares, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the United States’ Department of the Treasury, has ruined several companies of the Wisa Group, that have been included on the Clinton List and, as a result, many Panamanians have lost their jobs. At least 68 companies of the Waked family are included on this List and, although the U.S. Treasury has granted operating licenses for some of the companies of the group, time has passed and these have not been renewed.

Lack of cooperation

The questions about the lack of cooperation by Panama in the investigations into the biggest corruption scandal in Brazil, concerning the companies Odebrech and Pertobras who are accused of using bribes to get contracts, continues. Carlos Barsallo, lawyer and former commissioner of Securities, said that international cooperation is a key element in the investigation against international financial crime and combating corruption. “We must cooperate when requested and ask for cooperation when necessary. If there are laws or procedures that go against these principles, they should be corrected,” he said.


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