PANAMA. The government created the Community Development Program for Public Infrastructure (PRODEC) in 2006 to organize and execute pro...
PANAMA. The government created the Community Development Program for Public Infrastructure (PRODEC) in 2006 to organize and execute projects with revenues from the Panama Canal’s Authority (ACP).
At simple view, the program’s intent is clear, but the reality is another one, as the process to get a project approved can prove to be cumbersome and bureaucratic.
According to the law, the annual contributions destined to community development are $50 million. From this amount, each district gets $80,000 for its social works.
According to the director of PRODEC, Julio Aizprua, with the 2006 and 2007 money, which totaled $100,000, 1,882 projects were planned for the entire country.
To date, only 1,200 projects, using up to 90 percent of the money, have been approved. 37 percent of the funds have gone to finished projects, while 53 percent is being used for current projects.
Panama City representatives like Javier Ortega, from Rio Abajo, recognized that “PRODEC’s bureaucracy has kept social projects stagnant.
It has been two years and none of the three projects we proposed has been executed.”
Meanwhile PRODEC’s director, Julio Aizprua said that “priority has been given to far away regions.”
According to reports, PRODEC started granting money to regions with a high extreme poverty index and places where government projects are seldom seen. That is why projects in Panama City and San Miguelito, both of which are more developed, have not been evaluated until now.