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Thursday, Apr 22, 2021
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Economist: It will take three years to reach 2019 GDP level

The economist Guillermo Chapman talked about the financial prospects of Panama in 2021 and the next few years.
He explained that although some economists estimate that the rebound would be 7%, it is more likely to be 5%.

"This would be a magnificent growth rate if we were not in this situation. Last year we fell 18%, and it will take 3 years to reach the level of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of 2019 per capita," Chapman said.

He added that the recovery of employment is very slow, and considers that this is "the great weakness of the Panamanian economy" and it will be for the administrations in the next decade.

Chapman explained that more than 250,000 jobs have been lost during the pandemic, and to this are added the 125,000 that were already lost when 2020 began.

Regarding the crisis of the Social Security Fund (CSS), he stated that it was already here, "what the pandemic has done is to aggravate it."

"The reserves are like a water tank, which is drying up and now we must put our hands in our pockets ... If money runs out and people stop paying, I feel that this country, which is one of the most peaceful in the world, it is going to explode," Chapman said.

He added that a good part of the money that the State has asked for is to cover current expenses, is not justified. "If it were for investments, it would be justified," said the economist.

"A good Minister of Economy requires a government that is supporting him. The government is quite undisciplined in spending; you have to see the taxes, but before that the expenses," he concluded.
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