The Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture of Panama (CCIAP) pointed out this Sunday that the negative review of Fitch Ratings and Moody's shows the questioned handling of the pandemic in economic matters, which indicates it is reflected in the loss of thousands of jobs and business.
Faced with this, he points out that the country cannot resist one more closure of its productive activities, but that it is time to open the economy in a sustained manner, to recover lost jobs and companies, reiterating the support that the Government must show them.
“As a State, we need clear economic policies that allow us to recover the country's development path. We need to gradually activate the suspended contracts and generate new jobs to guarantee national growth and human development ”, emphasizes the business association in its Sunday statement La Cámara Opina.
According to estimates by Fitch Ratings, in 2020 the Panamanian economy contracted by 17.7%, one of the worst performances in the world, only next to economies such as Macao, the Maldives Islands and Lebanon, and explains that the impact that has the reduction of the risk rating should lead to take measures to move Panama forward, taking into account when countries lose their investment grade, eventually, they may lose access to credit and foreign investment.
"When an increase in indebtedness is not accompanied by an increase in productivity to sustain its growth, the risk rating immediately deteriorates, access to credit becomes difficult and more expensive for the country, as well as for companies and citizens," CCIAP
It points out that maintaining the investment grade in recent years has allowed the country to enjoy high foreign investment and unprecedented access to financial markets, which has allowed significant economic growth leveraged on infrastructure works, commercial and residential construction; as well as the development of our connectivity hub that boosted tourism, creating thousands of jobs.
It adds that the negative review sends a message that it is necessary to put the house in order, so it reiterates its rejection of any debt contracting for operating expenses, without there being a containment, austerity and control plan for these; Therefore, it emphasizes the call to the authorities to execute a transparent and clear investment plan with the available resources to create jobs in the short term and keep economic activities open in respect of free enterprise, which is the beginning of the model to continue to rebuild the country and enable sustainable development.
"The population demands transparency in obtaining and disposing of these monies, for which, in any case, priority must be given to investments with accurate returns for the country ... we insist, each closed day increases the deterioration of the national economy and decreases the ability to get ahead. We demand from the State respect for fundamental rights for coexistence in society. It cannot be ignored that private enterprise is the engine of the national economy. Before the pandemic, it represented more than 85% of the total national investment. We only need the productive forces to have a sustainable opening in order to guarantee families in general the security and stability that we all deserve ”, points out the CCIAP