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Friday, August 18 2017 @ 02:11 PM EDT

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$ 3.2 Million Approved For Salary Increase Of The Panamanian Firefighters

Money MattersAn additional credit of $ 3.2 million were approved by the National Economic Council (CENA), to the Ministry of Government, for wage equalization, the Firefighter Corps in the Republic of Panama and the issuance of electronic passports, said the Minister of Economy and Finance, Frank De Lima.

De Lima said, according to Resolution No. 001-12 of the March 14, 2012, concerning the worthy wage equalization of Firefighter Corps in Panama, organizational structure of salary for members earning assets was as follows: Mayor $ 1,500.00, captain $ 1,330.00, Lieutenant $ 1,105.00, $ 915.00 lieutenant, sergeant I $ 775.00, Sergeant II $ 740.00, and so on.

The Law of the Firefighter Corps of the Republic of Panama, establishes that the wages must be approved by all firefighters who are in the HR structure, taking into consideration the best salary, by position, rank, profession or technical duty. Said De Lima.

He said wage equalization is a legitimate concern of the members of the institution, which is why they adopted the organizational structure of salary for active renumbered, standing guard, communication radio control, security, fire prevention and investigation care services and pre-hospital medications, established in the patronage of date of 14 March 2012. (Critica)

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Loans Granted By The Panamanian Banking System Increased in More Than 34%

Money MattersThe loans granted by the Panamanian banking system increased in the first quarter of the year by 34.1% over the same period in 2012, reported the Superintendence of Banks of Panama on Wednesday.

According to the supervisory institution of Panama's International Banking Center, between January and March, the new loans granted by the banking system totaled 6,610.3 million dollars, representing an increase of 34.1% compared to the 4,928.4 million dollars granted in the first quarter of 2012.

Only by March, the number of new loans reached 2,206.2 million dollars, 24.6% higher than the amount recorded in the same month of 2012, said the Superintendence of Banks.

Classifying the loans by the type of banking, the private banking stands out, because between January and March of this year they granted a total of 5,945.9 million dollars in loans, versus the total of $664.4 million granted by official banks.

In the past five years, Panama has had an average economic growth of 9%, and the Government expects this year's gross domestic product (GDP) will grow in 8.5% approximately. (Telemetro)

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"The Next Government Will Have The Financial Ability To Conduct Their Works"

Money MattersThe Minister of Economy and Finance, Frank De Lima, said that according to projections they have made, the next government will have the financial ability to run public investments for more than 19 billion dollars.

Thus, De Lima plays down the comments made about the next government receiving a country in debt, and claiming they will not be able to perform their work.

De Lima told RPC Radio there are people who are dedicated to attack a technical issue with political arguments. "Organizations like the International Monetary Bank and the World Bank have spoken very positively about the development of the Panamanian economy," said the minister.

He also highlighted the rating made this week by the rating agency Fitch, which reaffirmed the triple-B rating for Panama, due to careful handling of public finances.

"Recently we had a debt issuance to be paid in 40 years, this is the longest term Panama has acquired to a 4.3% interest rate, demonstrating the confidence the international markets have on the performance of the Panamanian economy," he said.

About the projects in hand he assured the next government will have to pay 1 billion dollars because many of these projects will not be delivered during this administration. (Panama America)

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Bank Utility Drops in $56 Million

Money MattersThe results of the first quarter of the Panamanian Banking System suggest these entities had earned $263 million until March of this year, but this figure is $56 million less than in 2012, when the utility was $319 million.

This decrease cannot be attributed to a reduced performance in lending transactions, as the portfolios grew in 20%, reaching $34,338 million. This would related to the ‘others’ section, which represented a total of $58 million less than in 2012.

Some of the consulted bankers indicate these projections remain positive and they expect the same or better numbers at the end of the year in contrast with the same period for 2012.

Another main issue is the balance of credit cards, which surpassed the barrier of one billion. (Estrella)

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Martinelli Will Increase Public Debt To 17 Billion Dollars

Money MattersRicardo Martinelli is; by far, the Panamanian president who has resorted the most to debt contracting for the financing of expenditures.

At the end of 2009, his first year in office, the debt balance was $10.9 Billion Dollars. This figure has been increasing, and following this behavior, it was originally estimated that by the end of 2014, the country would owe $ 14.8 Billion Dollars.

However, only a year is left for his term to be over, and in the middle of an electoral year and with historical revenues, now the Government estimates the debt will rise to $17.2 Billion Dollars.

This newspaper had access to the medium-term fiscal framework of 2014-2018, presented by the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) to the National Assembly, in which the next step expected to be taken by the public debt is revealed, exactly during the aforementioned dates.

For the economist Felipe Chapman, it is disconcerting to see that, according to projections made by the MEF, the debt has increased in $6.2 Billion Dollars per year in five years; i.e., in 57% in nominal terms.

In his opinion, the current fiscal strategy is not justified. "Disappointment, in simple terms: eat today and starve tomorrow," said the economist, who also warns about how monetary and fiscal decisions made today will take effect later.

"Overspending in the last year of the government is a long-standing problem and will continue until society demands fiscal discipline," he said. (Prensa)

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Government Recovers Noriega´s Funds

Money MattersThe president, Ricardo Martinelli, announced today the Government of Panama recovered $ 539,343 of the funds held by the former dictator, Manuel Antonio Noriega, and the former Defence Forces in the Bank of Credit and International Commerce (BCCI).

The president posted on his Twitter account saying "the government just recovered $ 539,343.83 in funds of Noriega and defense forces of the international bank BCCI. Less attorney fees."

It is noteworthy that in 1990 the Luxembourg-based BCCI admitted in federal court in Florida, had bleached Colombian drug money, which ended with the arrest of seven executives, including Amjad Awan, who confessed to be Noriega's bank advisor.

Awan was responsible for the BCCI in Panama and in 1988 he reported to be Noriega's personal banker, who he said had a secret checking account with at least $ 25 million. (Panama America)

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Struggle In SICOTRAC Causes Delay In Compensation Payment

Money MattersThe internal conflict of the Union of Public Transport Drivers (Sicotrac) has delayed payment of compensation to 100 drivers of the Veranillo transportation lot, including 25 other lots, according to Gabriel Lanza, undersecretary of defense of this group.

The battle comes from the realization of two conferences in December 2012, a situation operated by the Ministry of Labor and Workforce Development (Mitradel) and recently was failure of the Judge II of Work in favor of Manuel Argüelles, as general secretary of this association of carriers.

According to Lanza, unless signed by the General Secretary, the required formalities by the Transit and Transportation Authority (ATTT) for payment of the $ 25,000 of compensation can not be completed. According to the official, this will cause a protest on the streets this Wednesday.

Nicolás Brea, ATTT Secretary General, said in the lot of Veranillo, only 35 bus drivers haven't been paid, however, he did not specify the amount of compensation that are pending in other lots.

This medium also sought to know the version of the Ministry of Labour officials, but they did not respond to calls or messages. (Siglo)

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Panama Is No Longer A Tax Haven

Money MattersThe President of Panama, Ricardo Martinelli, said the policies implemented in recent years have allowed their country to stop being considered a tax haven.

"Panama is a great little country, which is under construction today," said Martinelli during his participation in the World Economic Forum on Latin America, which opened today in Lima, Peru, by President Ollanta Humala.

The president included "the mistakes all Latin Americans make, there were employers who did not want to engage in politics," and he added, saying "people want things to change."

He said Panama "has made a major transformation of the errors committed by the previous government" and to be "virtually excluded by the stigma of being considered a tax haven," and now it has double taxation treaties and free trade agreements with countries like the United States and the European Union.

He also announced soon he will sign trading agreements with Mexico and Peru, which will allow Panama to enter the Pacific Alliance.

Martinelli also said the Panamanian government has begun "an aggressive infrastructure building program", including the "largest airport in Latin America," which will be ready in 2014, as well as the construction of highways, hospitals, markets and homes. (MiDiario)

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Panama Issued A Global Bond Of $ 750 Million For 2053

Money MattersThe Panamanian Government, today, issued a new global bond in the amount of $ 750 million in the international market, with 2053 as its deadline, and a steady coupon of 4.30% a year, informed an official source.

The issue received bids for over $ 4,500 billion, by investors from the United States, Asia, Europe and Latin America, said the Panamanian Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) in a statement.

The economic perspective is favorable for the public finances of panama, where they were able to obtain a final efficiency of 4.30%.

The transaction was led jointly by the investment banks: Bank of America, Merrill Lynch and Credit Suisse.

According to the document, the last issue of a Global Note of Panama was made in 2009, with its deadline in 2020 and the yield was 5.22%, which means the cost of borrowing fell by more than 90 basis points and the term spread over 30 years.

Compared to the 2036 Global Bond 6.70% coupon, the Panamanian reference, in its long term before today's broadcast, financing costs decreased 240 basis points.

Even so, the country's efficiency spread to 17 years.

The 2053 Global Bonds issued by Panama is only surpassed in Latin America by the transaction made by Mexico in 2010, on the occasion of its Bicentennial, which expires in 2110.

The MEF highlights "the results of this new issue reflects the confidence of the international financial community in Panama and is a recognition of the economic and fiscal performance of our country."

Given the successful placement of this new Global Bond, the average weighted cost of debt was reduced from 5.37% to 5.32% and the average deadline of 11.6 years was extended to 12.8 years, reducing the exposure of the portfolio of debt in Panama to risks of refinancing and of the market.

The Panamanian government debt now exceeds $ 14 billion, equivalent to 40% of the gross domestic product. (Panama America)

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Expocomer Has Filled 8,000 Hotel Rooms in Panama

Money MattersThe XXXI 2013 Expocomer that started on Wednesday, 17 April 2013, has generated additional economic transactions for Panama beyond those being completed in this commercial showcase, ranked as one of the largest in the country.

The president of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Panama, Irvin Halman, said Expocomer has generated more than 8,000 hotel room nights, in addition to all of the services being provided to those participating in the show, such as transportation, restaurants, and flights filled with people who are coming into and out of Panama, elements creating a positive economic impact.

Halman said for the moment, the exhibitors and organizers are currently taking statistics from this year's show, information that will be announced in a press conference.

He also said Expocomer is a regional level meeting where exhibitors from more than 35 countries have to opportunity to test the receptivity of the Panamanian market and buyers.

This year's Expocomer ends today, Saturday. 20 April 2013.

The exhibition occupied a space of 14 thousand square meters and it was necessary to expand to the area outside of the Atlapa Convention Center. (Panama America)

Editor's Comment: If you've got nothing to do in Panama City today, it's always fun to hit the Expocomer (Commercial Expo) at the Atlapa Convention Center. There has been an explosion of new hotel rooms coming on the market in the past few months, so anything that fills hotel rooms is important. Occupancy rates have plummeted because there are now so many more new hotel rooms available.

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