Isthmian Update March 28. Panama is ahead of Guatemala, Colombia, Mexico, Costa Rica and Peru in the number of employments that have been generated. However the private sector hired fewer employees in January and February this year, compared to 2016, according to a report by the Ministry of Labor and Workforce Development (Mitradel). In the first months of the year, private payrolls totaled 42,000 employees.
Get your vaccination
Twenty-six Brazilians were returned to their country from Tocumen International Airport for failing to carry the yellow fever vaccination card. This was confirmed by Aurelio Rangel, director of the Metropolitan Health Region, who pointed out that authorities are on alert for the disease transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito and monkeys. Rangel detailed that not only Brazilians will be returned if they do not have the card, but also those of other nationalities who have not had the vaccine.
Nothing to declare
Travelers leaving Panama will have to declare to the Customs authorities merchandise, securities or money for more than $10,000 from March 27 a measure that was previously only met by people entering the country. The so-called Departure Traveler Affidavit is part of the regulations demanded of Panama by the International Financial Action Task Force (Gafi) to fight against the laundering and financing of terrorism, according to the National Customs Authority.
Expensive construction material
During the first two months of 2017, the prices of some construction materials rose, according to figures compiled by the Comptroller’s Office. According to official data, in the period from January to February 2017, the price of the half-inch steel rod increased by 12% and the price of the number twenty-six zinc corrugated roofing material increased by 9.7%. In the same period, the price of roof support number four rose by (7.1%) and the price of spruce wood (3%).
Customers of several local banks continue to report increases in interest rates on mortgage loans, auto loans and personal loans, among others, which affect personal finance one way or another, according to experts. Clients complain that they have had their interest rates raised by up to $15.00 in their monthly payments, thus extending the period to cancel the loan.
Converting the Northern and Southern corridors to six lanes will be expensive, because it needs an investment of $25.6 million. This will be the reference amount for the tender for the project of “habilitation, adequacy, signaling for the three-way reclassification and revision of the lanes for the Northern and Southern corridors”, to be held on April 18. This information was published in PanamaCompra by the Ministry of Public Works (MOP) with the specifications with which the contracting company must comply to carry out the works on the Northern Corridor for a length of 23 kilometers and on the Southern for about 16 kilometers.
The prosecution requested an international red alert from Interpol Panama to detain the sons of former president Ricardo Martinelli. The “large sum of money involved in the incident and the economic means of the fugitives allow them to flee from justice” are part of the arguments presented by the special anti-corruption prosecutor, Tania Sterling, to issue the provisional arrest warrant against Ricardo Alberto and Luis Enrique Martinelli Linares.
In 2016 the administration of the Tocumen Air Terminal canceled the contract signed during the former management with the American company Asig. Tocumen, S.A., saying that the process to adjudicate the dispatch of fuel in the air terminals under its jurisdiction was flawed. Seven companies from the United States, Scotland and Spain have shown interest to provide fuel to this airport.
Panama’s vice president and chancellor, Isabel de Saint Malo, acknowledged that the publication of the so-called “Panama Papers” has served to accelerate the fight against money laundering and, despite the impact on the country’s image, it had no effect on its economy. “Unfortunately for my country, because of the name, it put us in the crosshairs,” lamented the chancellor in an interview with the news agency Efe in Vienna, where she is holding a series of meetings with senior officials from different UN agencies.
Back to normal
Operations and maintenance personnel of the Electric Transmission SA (ETESA) and the technicians of the National Dispatch Center (CDN) managed to recover the total operation of the electricity system in Panama City on Monday morning, it was confirmed by the entity through a press release. This action suspends the State of Alert decreed late on Sunday night, March 19 to avoid overloading the system, which caused a massive blackout.
There have been four continuous years of deteriorating trade in the Colón Free Zone (CFZ) and in the first month of 2017, trade in the main free zone of the country showed signs of economic recovery. According to figures of the Comptroller’s Office, trade increased by 15.6% in January 2017. In the first month of the year, total trade amounted to $1,378.4 million, up from $1,192 million in 2016.
Isthmian Update March 28: Paternity leave
The draft law that creates paternity leave is closer to being approved, as the Labor and Workforce Development Minister, Luis Ernesto Carles, will take the initiative before the full National Assembly. This draft was approved by the Cabinet 35 days ago.