New traffic regulations have made third party vehicle insurance
obligatory. The insurance industry has an enormous task in front of
it this year to sell policies to some 400,000 uninsured vehicle owners.
According to data provided by the deputy director of the Transit and
Land Transport Authority (ATTT). Heraclio Batista, only 33% (203,000)
of the total vehicles in the country (612.303) have some type of insurance.
controversial aspect of the new traffic regulations seems to be the
use of the alcohol breathalyzer. Bar owners lament that this "will
cause less sales of alcoholic beverages, which will result in losses
for the businesses dedicated to that trade" according to one
Sales of new cars rose a scant 2% in 2006. The car market
is worth $500 million in Panama. The majority of buyers (57%) opted
to purchase for cash. Luxury models took a 13% drop but SUV sales
almost doubled, with Panamanians apparently seeing them as safer,
more comfortable and having more caché. The Nissan Patrol was
most popular followed by the Mitsubishi Montero, the BMW x 3 and the
Toyota Land Cruiser. Also sold were 38 Range Rovers and 11 Hummers.
as U.S./ Latin America Bridge
As leftist political movements spread among the countries
of Latin America, the Panamanian president Martin Torrijos, has great
value for the United States as its communications "bridge"
with the other governments of the region. This it how the US undersecretary
of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Thomas Shannon, defined it
recently in Nicaragua.
An increase of 10% was registered in hotel occupancy last
year. Jorge Loaiza, the new president of the Panamanian Association
of Hotels (APATEL), described the figure as positive and requested
the continued monitoring of the strategic plan of tourist development.
Some 90% of the electricity consumers in Panama will not
see any increase in the new tariffs for 2007 that will come into effect
on February 1. The administrator of the National Authority of Public
Utilities (ASEP), Victor Urrutia said that some 636,201 electricity
users with a smaller turnover than US$72 a month will continue to
be subsidized by the State. He explained that the users with a monthly
consumption of between 501 and 1,000 Kwh will continue to be partly
subsidized, for which their invoices will reflect a low increase that
oscillates between 2.8 and 8.5%.
to compensate for Poisoning
A total of 113 families have to be compensated by the government
following the poisoning deaths caused by the contaminated medicines
made by the Social Security Fund (CSS). The figure was revealed yesterday
by Juan Antonio Tejada, appointed by the Executive to head the Presidential
Office in Support of the Victims.
capacity of the Panama Canal to attend to the demand of US
ports will reach its limits by 2008, according to a study
made by the consulting form Drewry Shipping for the shipping
line APL. According to the executive director of APL, Ron
Widens, as a consequence "of the great demand for transport
between Asia and the US coasts, the improvements being carried
out on the canal in the short-term will not be sufficient
for the long-term and shipping companies should begin to take
into account this factor at the moment of planning their logistic
In sweeping operation in Bocas del Toro, the Authority of
Protection of the Consumer and Defense of Competition detected 1,143
expired foods and 12,805 products without the price; 417 products
without the respective due date and 21 deteriorated products.
land for Colon Free Zone
The Ministry of Economy and Finances (MEF) has transferred,
under free title, to the Colon Free Zone, an area of over 29 hectares,
with a total value is US$14.8 million. The area, located in the former
Fort Davis, near Cristobal in Colon, was previously administered by
the defunct Davis Export Processing Zone.
Free Zone, general manager, Nilda Quijano, delivered a check for US$5
million for the Colon Trust Fund.
in Kuna Yala
Several fires have swept through village islands in San
Blas recently, causing speculation of sabotage related to the drug
trade. "The black hand of third parties can be seen in fires
over the past few weeks in native areas of the country". Said
the Minister of Housing, Balbina Herrera. "This deserves a deep
investigation, since it is not explained how three native communities
suffered from fires in such short periods of time".
With increated economic activity forecast consequent on
the canal expansion, the National Institute of Vocational Training
and Training for Human Development (INADEH) has begun a program of
mass training, with a budget of US$110.4 million, (only US$27.4 million
less than that of the University of Panama). The courses will have
duration of from 25 to 1,200 hours with an envolment of 31,200 participants.
According to the director of INADEH, Juan Planells, courses include
data processing, English, tourism, hotel trade, gastronomy, administration,
construction and mechanical trades.
More than 23 aircraft of an association of veteran pilots
of Baja California U.S.A. arrived in Panama last week on their tour
through Central America.
Six new banks will be installed in the Panamanian banking
center during the first quarter of this year, reported Olegario Barrelier,
Superintendent of Banks. He did not name the new banks but said that
the licence requests stem from large European banks and banks of medium
size from South-America.
With 500,000 visitors and near 700 stands for businesses
and exhibitors, the International Fair of La Chorrera ---- the most
visited in the country --- expects to generate commercial movements
of more than US$10-million, according to Mario Jaén, president
of the fair’s organizing body. Jaén explained that for
version number 47 of this event, "we expect an increase not only
in income from the ticket window, but in the internal commercial transactions".
He added that there will be many new attractions for visitors.
Says "No Transatlantic flights
Following unfounded news reports Copa, Airlines clarified
that it does not anticipate initiating flights to Europe. A representative
said Copa Airlines continuosly evaluates the launching of new destinations
on the American continent, as well as alliances that permit it to
expand their global network and to reinforce their "Hub of the
Americas" located in Panama City.
Panamanians and visitors to the country wagered US$669.3
million in the casinos during the first 11 months of 2006, a 19.8%
increase over the same period of 2005. According to statistics of
the Comptroller’s Office, the casinos and "A" type
poker machine parlors generate an average of US$55 million monthly,
which indicates that by the close of the year, the total spent on
gambling will exceed the record of US$700 million.
speaks out about city traffic
It will be difficult to sustain growth in the real estate
market of Panama City without serious changes in the road infrastructure
and the use of it, because the traffic is already a daily chaos, according
to the new president of the Banking Association of Panama, Alexis
Arjona. His statements were made when he took possession and launched
strong criticism of the public transport system and urged the authorities
to evaluate the systems that have been successful in other cities
to decide what is best for us.
Within a few days the board of directors of the Panama Canal
Authority (ACP) will present to the Canal users a toll increase proposal
with which the work of enlargement of this waterway will be financed.
This was reported by the administrator of the ACP, Alberto Zubieta.
To get the financing for the enlargement the toll must be doubled
over the next 20 years, at an average of 3.5% per year.
The Enrique Malek airport in David recently made another
step toward the possibility of scheduled international flights with
the instalation of a new CVOR/DME locating beacon. President Martin
Torrijos passed by the airport to give the formal authorization to
instal the equipment.
An anti-drug prosecutor interviewed by the newspaper Panama
America, related that in the case of Pablo Rayo Montaño, it
was impressive to see the amount of goods he collected. He said that
among the eccentricities of drug trafficers were luxury cars, and
“exotic collections of objects, animals, plants and women”.