The principle of transparency, institutional stability and legal certainty will be critical for Panama keep the confidence of domestic and foreign investors, so said the president of the National Council of Private Enterprise (CONEP), Julio De La Lastra.
De La Lastra reaffirmed the need for the country to reinforce the image projected internationally, referring to the scandals of which Panama has been subject in recent months.
Meanwhile, the economist John Jované also recalled that the economic growth largely reflects the inflow of foreign capital, which in recent years accounted for between 11% and 12% of gross domestic product.
economic studies of the region have placed Panama as the fastest growing economy in Latin America, reaching more than 6% and 5.8% pace in 2015, in addition to leading the line in foreign direct investment.
According to the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF), foreign direct investment increased by $ 5.038 million 600 thousand in 2015, surpassing 2014, when it was estimated at $ 4.309 million 400 thousand.
Only in 2014, 25% of the investment made in our country was foreign, and it is expected that with the opening of the expanded Canal, this will continue to grow in 2016.
Most of this investment is reinvested profit by foreign investors, authorities estimate.
Similarly, in 2015, Panama transferred profits to foreign investors for $ 3.801 million 900 thousand and the rest was invested in the country.
In June 2014, the Group of Financial Action Task Force (FATF) also included Panama in the “gray list” after the mission of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) identify gaps in meeting the 40 recommendations in the fight against the money laundering.
In addition to compromising the image, this international signaling cancellation cost the country more than 20 correspondent banking relationships and reduce the lines and rising remained the same.
However the output of Panama from the gray list of the organism was approved in the plenary session of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) held in February in Paris, France.
Given this, De La Lastra argues that any scandal that jeopardizes the financial platform serving the country and generate confusion and fear among investors.
To Jované, the situation could be higher if cases like the law firm Mossack Fonseca and remarks made by the Department of Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the US Waked Group affect the banking system.
According to the economist, the fact correspondent banks that break relationships with local banks or investors less willing to develop projects in the country, automatically have an impact on economic activity and job creation.
According to the Office of the Comptroller General of Colombia, between 2011 and 2015, foreign direct investment is concentrated in activities such as wholesale and retail, with higher amounts to $ 1.200 billion, financial and insurance more than $ 702 million 984 thousand.
For the president of CONEP, this is sufficient for the State to find ways to ensure security and certainty to investors that their funds will be protected.
“The state must ensure that employers trust operating in a country with high growth potential and one of the best business models in the region,” he said.
Although experts say that Panama should be more energetic in defending the country’s image, officials defend their actions.
In this regard, Deputy Economy Minister Ivan Zarak said that Panama strikes against the issues and are taking responsible steps to ensure the investment community and that there is a brake on the economy because of scandals.
25% of the investment made in our country was foreign, according to estimates by Comptroller.
$ 5.038 million 600 thousand increased foreign direct investment in the country during 2015.
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