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Businesspeople urge more legal security to attract investments to Panama

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  • Sun, 06/24/2018 - 17:25
Gabriel Barletta, presidente de la CCIAP
  • Gabriel Barletta, presidente de la CCIAP
  • Panamá Today

The Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture of Panama (CCIAP) said  that the lack of seriousness in the public bidding process frightens investors and urged that legal security be guaranteed in the country.

After recalling the fall registered by Panama in the Global Competitiveness Index 2017-2018 published by the World Economic Forum, the Chamber asked to be "careful" and not convert that indicator "of legal security into an indicator of the worst qualified".

That can happen thanks to the stock of "public tenders of national interest that leave many doubts unanswered and suspicion that only serves to stoke poisonous suspicions, said the union that groups more than 1,600 companies in Panama, without pointing out any process in specific.

"What is the sense of organizing these processes, establishing rules of the game supposedly characterized by seriousness and transparency, convening potential investors, standardizing participation criteria and designing evaluation committees composed of prestigious professionals, if then, surprisingly, we turn to the board to return to the starting point from scratch," the guild asked.

It added that in case of anomalies in the public bidding process, "the country needs to know, if they exist, to investigate them and demand responsibility for them."

In early June, the Ministry of Public Works (MOP) of Panama annulled the report of the first assessment for the design and construction of the fourth bridge over the Panama Canal, due to alleged inconsistencies in the traffic flow studies analyzed by two different entities.

The CCIAP also urged "compliance with the rulings of the Supreme Court of Justice concerning the millionaire investment projects whose execution awaits state officials to hear repeated rulings of that court of justice on that matter."

"Legal security is a significant component of the competitiveness of a country, and a determining factor in attracting foreign investment, as is the case of Panama in the need to generate new and growing sources of employment," it said.

The flow of foreign direct investment (FDI) in Panama totaled 1,098.5 million dollars in the first quarter of this year, with a decrease of 17 percent over the same period of 2018, according to data from the National Institute of Statistics and Census ( Inec).

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