Panama’s Five Year Plan – What has President Martinelli accomplished?




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The ruling political party in Panama recently had their presidential primary elections.  The Cambia Democratico (CP) party nominated former Housing Minister, Jose Domingo Arias, to be its presidential candidate for the May, 2014 election.

Since taking office in 2009, what has President Ricardo Martinelli accomplished?  President Martinelli entered office with a 122 page Five Year Plan and in the three and a half years since this country has experienced the largest infrastructure expansion in its history.

Here is a list of those expansions:

  1. Expansion of the international airports at Tocumen and David.
  2. Extending the Cinta Costera Park and a highway around Casco Antigua.
  3. Getting rid of 90% of the old school busses known as the Diablo rojos which polluted and clogged the streets of Panama City.  They are replaced with brand new modern Volvo busses with comfortable seats and air conditioning which are silent and non-polluting.
  4. Building a new 13.7 kilometer subway system across Panama City.  While the current construction is creating havoc on the streets, once it is finished in less than a year commuting will be faster at an affordable cost for everyone.
  5. Cleaning up the Bay of Panama from its polluted water and foul smells.
  6. Developing a new government building where more than 200 government offices will be in one place making access more convenient and saving millions in annual rent.
  7. Building new highways across the country such as a new one from the city of Colon to Tocumen International Airport.
  8. Constructing a new international airport at Rio Hato.
  9. Developing the former U.S. Howard Air Force Base near the Bridge of the Americas into an office complex mini city called Panama Pacifico where over 40 international companies will relocate to enjoying the benefits of duty free imports for materials & supplies and furniture & vehicles.  Additional benefits include easy immigration visas for key employees.

These projects amount to an investment of over $4 billion.  These funds are coming from variety of sources including the increased efficiency of government tax collections as well as the Panama Canal profits and international loans.

When these projects are completed Panama will be able to boast the best business friendly infrastructure in all of Central America with improved telecommunications and transportation infrastructures.

Foreign investors can get involved with the many future infrastructure improvements privately or by contracting with the government.  But, first consult with a Panama law firm to learn the in and outs of foreign investing in Panama.

About Manoj Chatlani


Manoj Chatlani is a Senior Partner at POLS Attorneys, a full-service law firm in Panama City, Panama. Specializing in offshore services, including asset protection, estate planning, offshore banking, and offshore corporations, as well as Panama immigration and real estate transactions, Panama Offshore Legal Services offers clients a streamlined solution to all their Panama legal needs. Manoj is a Panamanian lawyer and holds a law degree from USMA and earned a Masters in Communication Law and Panama Tax law.

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