Isthmian Update September 9

Airport revenue on the up

Isthmian Update September 9. Tocumen International Airport generated revenues of $126 million in the first seven months of the year, 22% up from the same period last year. At this pace, the main airport in the country will close the year with revenues exceeding $220 million. These revenues have been driven by the increase in the exit tax paid by passengers using Tocumen, which rose this year from $40 million to $50 million.

More negotiations

The tariff dispute between Panama and Colombia taken to the World Trade Organization (WTO) and decided in favor of Panama was discussed by the deputy ministers of both countries at a meeting behind closed doors in the Panamanian capital. An official source said that the Panamanian Deputy Minister of International Trade Negotiations, Diana Salazar, participated in the meeting along with deputy minister of the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism of Colombia whose name was not specified.

Egg carton shortage

Over the next few weeks about 2,520,000 egg cartons will be imported, after the only local supplier became inoperative. The purchase will be made mainly to supply packages of 12 units of eggs, the most widely distributed in the country, according to Luis Carlos Castroverde, president of the National Association of Poultry Farmers (ANAVIP).

Raising money

The fourth bridge over the Panama Canal will be paid for with State funds and a bond issued by the National Highway Company (ENA). Although the final amounts are not yet defined, it is estimated that the project will cost about one billion dollars. About half will be paid by the State and between $400 million and $500 million will be through a bond issue, which will be repaid to investors with the toll which users will be charged.

Food safety

Soon the consumer will have a tool to find out if food entered the country legally with the new App that is being designed by the Panamanian Food Safety Authority (AUPSA). The new application will allow the user to detect, through the bar code, whether or not the food entering and distributed in the country has sanitary registration, a mandatory requirement for import and marketing. The consumer can also download it from the Android and iOS (Apple’s mobile operating system).

The only one

The Panama Maritime Authority (AMP) said it is the only entity empowered by law to collect fees related to docks, harbors and wharves in the Republic of Panama. With that, it disavowed a resolution of the municipality of Colon, by which the municipality planned to collect $10.00 from each passenger embarking or disembarking in the Colon maritime terminals.

Information exchange

The Foreign Relations Committee of the National Assembly, in the first debate, endorsed Bill 363, approving the intergovernmental agreement between Panama and the United States for automatic exchange of financial information. The agreement was signed between the two countries on April 27 and must be approved by the National Assembly prior to implementation. If this step and other pending legal revisions are approved before the end of the year, the exchange will begin in September 2017.

Persona non grata

The commotion generated by the jokes of comedian George Harris, from a platform in Miami, USA, in which he mocked Panamanians, continues to generate controversy. The conflict that arose on social networks was denounced, formally, by the National Bar Association (CNA) in a letter to Javier Carrillo, director of the National Immigration Service, that requests an “entry ban on George Harris entering the country and that the life, honor and property of nationals” be protected.

Metro model

The facilities of the Panama Metro were used as the stage to present the model of Citadis, a tram to be used by students of the Higher Technical Institute in West Panama (ITSO) to train for the new railway maintenance career. The tram includes a stretch of track, equipment and components. Three Panamanian teachers will travel to France for a two-month internship at a French institute to prepare for this course.

Isthmian Update September 9: More buses

The Metrobus system is costing millions of dollars for the Panamanian people. Now the State wants $47 million to buy 465 buses. According to the president of the Board of Mi Bus, Carlos Fabrega, they will arrive in Panama on April, 2017. He explained that the Board approved the $47 million, but it needs the ratification of the National Assembly’s Budget Committee of the National Assembly.

Tax collectors

In the Official Gazette, the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) published the list of ITBMS withholding agents for the fiscal year 2017. The Resolution No. 201-4050, gives a list totaling 163 companies that will do half of the tax collection work carried out by the Department of Revenue (DGI) to ensure the collection of ITBMS. Some of the companies mentioned are the National Brewery S.A., Cochez and Company S.A., Colgate Palmolive Central America Inc., Consorcio Constructora Meco S.A. TRANSCARIBE Trading SA, Constructora Norberto Odebrecht SA, Sacyr Construccion SA, among others.

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