12 de Ago de 2022

Nacional

Govt ups spending

PANAMA. The budget proposal now before the National Assembly is the largest in Panama’s history and shows a 5. 29 percent increase in g...

PANAMA. The budget proposal now before the National Assembly is the largest in Panama’s history and shows a 5. 29 percent increase in government spending.

Of the total budget of $10.28 billion, the Martinelli administration proposes allocating 64 percent or $6.654 billion to government spending, $242 million more than under the previous administration.

The most significant increase is in funds allocated to the Ministry of Government and Justice which will receive an additional $136.5 million.

The Ministries of Education and Health will also receive greater allocations while the Ministry of Public Works and Economy and Finances will face cutbacks.

If the budget is passed as it stands, there will be no significant increase in spending on infrastructure. $3.626 billion or 36 percent of the budget is destined to investment in infrastructure - just 1 percent more than under the Torrijos administration.

This includes a proposed $30 million for the development of the metro and another $25.2 million for the design and construction of the second phase of the Coastal Strip (Cinta Costera) project.

$107 million is allocated for investment in schools and $10 million for the Cadena de Frio project which will ensure that foods produced in Panama are kept in cold storage throughout their journey from producer to supermarkets.

$1.350.5 billion will go to servicing the national debt.

According to projections, the Non-Funded Public Sector will need $511.7 million by 2010, of which 34 percent corresponds to the Social Security Department.

According to the Finance Minister, Alberto Vallarino, the proposed budget does not include tax adjustments, which could mean that there will be more funds for investment in the future. This year, tax income added another $255 million to the treasury.

There are also proposals to raise $140 million in 2010 by taxing the Duty Free Zone in Colon.

Vallarino will present the budget to the National Assembly’s budget commission next Tuesday and detailed discussions will begin on September14. Final approval will be given by mid-October.