Entrepreneurs ask Panama government for savings to finance investments


Panama City, Aug 8 (EFE) .- The business union on Sunday called on the government of Panama to increase the savings in current spending to at least 30% in the 2022 budget, and that the resources be directed towards the plans necessary public investment to reactivate the economy, hard hit by the pandemic.

“Public investment has been financed 100% by debt” during the two years in which the government of President Laurentino Cortizo is present (2019-2024), a situation which “worries”, declared the Chamber of Commerce, of Industry and Agriculture of Panama (CCIAP).

The union acknowledged that “it is indisputable that this is in part a consequence of the impacts of the pandemic”, but called “inadmissible that the crisis is an excuse to avoid or exclude all kinds of current measures from the equation. cost savings “.

The Executive submitted to Parliament for approval a draft national budget for 2022 of $ 25,126.6 million, or 3.6% more than this year, which envisages $ 12,756 million for operating expenses, i.e. 8,282 million. for investment programs, according to official data.

“The current revenues expected for 2022 represent what we obtained four years ago, however we have not slipped four years in our operating and operating expenses,” said Minister of the Economy, Héctor Alexander , during the presentation of the 2022 draft budget to Parliament on July 29.

The Panamanian economy collapsed by 17.9% of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2020 and 8.5% in the first quarter of this year, driven by the crisis resulting from the pandemic.

Representatives of economic sectors and analysts argue that the government does not have a stimulus plan and that an injection of liquidity into the domestic market is necessary to revive consumption.

“Panama cannot afford to continue fumbling with budget executions without short and medium term projections”, and “strategic budget allocation (…) must include plans that inject liquidity into the domestic market, promote consumption and create jobs, along with private companies, ”the CCIAP said on Sunday.

He stressed that the 2022 budget “foresees a budget deficit of 4% of the GDP”, for which he called for “a careful examination of the expenditure which leads to this result and which will increase the big gap in the coffers of the State” .

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