Republic of Panama

 

Angélica I. Maytín Justiniani, Director - General of Panama’s National Authority of Transparency and Access to Information (ANTAI), said: “Infrastructure projects are particularly vulnerable to political favours, corruption, and mismanagement, and given its pivotal role for the economy, is essential to monitor public spending and ensure that such projects meet the country’s needs.  Panama recently joined the Construction Sector Transparency Initiative (CoST). We trust that in-hand with CoST we will complement Panama’s efforts to increase transparency on public procurement of infrastructure projects, creating the conditions for sustainable economic growth by reducing the costs and risks of doing business and strengthen the collaborative work of government, the private sector and civil society.”

 

Prior to CoST: Public infrastructure in context

Image result for panama canalWith a public investment budget of US$19.5 billion between 2014 and 2019 – an estimated 9% of annual GDP – Panama is currently one of the highest investing countries in Latin America (Deloitte, 2014), of which 60% is destined to infrastructure development (MEF). According to the World Bank (2016), infrastructure features heavily in Panama’s strategic goals due to (a) an aim to reduce infrastructural constraints on per capita GDP; and (b) recognition that national growth has stemmed largely from the transport, commerce, and construction sectors. For example, recent major projects include the completion of the Panama Canal expansion which doubled the capacity of the 100-year old mega-structure. As such, Panama is one of the most competitive countries in the region on infrastructure development, according to the World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Competitiveness Ranking.

 

Though there has been an influx of infrastructure investment in Panama, the country still faces challenges in infrastructure delivery including cost overruns and incomplete works. As with many other countries, these issues can be connected to inefficiencies, mismanagement and corruption within the sector. For example, inefficient government bureaucracy is still ranked as the most problematic factor for doing business in Panama (WEF, 2016). Corruption is also noted as a problematic factor for the country, echoed by the World Bank governance indicators (2015) which place Panama below the Latin America and Caribbean region for control of corruption with a score of just 47 out of a top 100. 

 

Text Box:  CoST Panama: How it began

Panama was among the delegates that attended CoST Regional Workshop – Latin America in 2015, funded by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office through the British Embassy in Panama. The Panamanian participants worked together to explore CoST principles and developed an action plan for infrastructure transparency which engaged key actors from across government, industry, and civil society.

 

Participants continued to drive forward the agenda for infrastructure transparency at the national level after the workshop. CoST International Secretariat worked closely with key stakeholders on the ground and in late 2016 Panama submitted a successful application for membership to CoST’s International Board.

 

../uploadedresources/cost%20iacc.pngCoST Panama was launched on 2 December 2016 at the 17IACC as proof of the country’s commitment to delivering justice through the development of equity, security and trust in public infrastructure. Angélica I. Maytín Justiniani, Director - General of ANTAI, made the announcement as part of a high-level panel discussion on the impact of transparency in public infrastructure across Latin America. Panama was joined by leading experts and practitioners in the field, in addition to CoST colleagues from Afghanistan, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Malawi and Ukraine and the CoST Board.

 

Scoping Study

CoST Panama is completing a Scoping Study to explore how to best apply the flexible standard within the local context and establish a baseline for transparency on public infrastructure in Panama. This includes an analysis of public infrastructure investment, CoST related legal framework, institutions, and initiatives responsible for public infrastructure delivery as well as key stakeholders. The baseline will establish current levels of proactive disclosure versus reactive.

 

Working with stakeholders for better value public infrastructure

CoST Panama Multi-Stakeholder Group (MSG) brings together government, industry, and civil society. They provide leadership and direction to CoST Panama operation. Its members are: 

 

  • Government: National Authority of Transparency and Access to Information (ANTAI); National Water and Sewers Authority (IDAAN); Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF); Panama City Municipality; National Directorate of Public Procurement (DGCP).

  • Industry: Panamanian Society of Engineers and Architects (SPIA); British Chamber of Commerce; Panamanian Construction Chamber (CAPAC).

  • Civil Society: Fundación para el Desarrollo de la Libertad Ciudadana (Panamanian Chapter of Transparency International); Movimiento Independiente (MOVIN); Fundación Generación sin Límite.

     

     

     

    Observers

    The British Embassy in Panama promoted the establishment of the national CoST programme and provided seed funding to support its development. Key observers whom have recently come on board: Panamanian Chamber of Commerce, Industry, and Agriculture; and the World Bank.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Disclosure: Increasing transparency in public infrastructure investment

     

    Following the publication of CoST Panama Scoping Study, the national programme will work with government and other stakeholders to strengthen public infrastructure disclosure. The Government has already earmarked 18 projects worth over US$1 Billion for the first phase of CoST implementation as follows:

     

CoST Panama

Infrastructure Projects for Implementation Phase

Project Name

Project Sector

Procuring entity

Value

Road intervention and improvements, Uruguay Street, Panama District

Roads and transport

Panama City Municipality

USD 26.4 Millions

Road intervention and improvements, Argentina Avenue, Panama District

Roads and transport

USD 26.2 Millions

Construction and maintenance of a sports facility in Tocumen's Park, Monterrico

Public space

USD 1.6 Millions

Construction and maintenance of a sports facility in Tocumen, La Siesta

Public space

USD 3.7 Millions

Renovation of Urraca Park

Public space

USD 2.2 Millions

Design, drawings, approvals, technical specifications, and construction for the remodeling of the building to be the Headquarters for the Offices of the Central Warehouse, Transportation

Government Infrastructure

Ministry of Economy and Finance

USD 2.3 Millions

Construction of basic infrastructure for 56 residential lots

Housing

USD 1 Million

Construction of a main access road to an area of tourism

Roads and transport

USD 500K

Studies, Design and Construction of the Potable Water Supply System, Sewerage Networks, and Waste Water Treatment Plant for the Island of Contadora, Province of Panama

Water and Sanitation

National Water and Sewer Authority (IDAAN)

USD 15 Millions

Construction of the Sewerage Network and Waste Water Treatment Plant in Chepo, Province of Panama

Water and Sanitation

USD 82 Millions

Construction of the Sewerage Network and Waste Water Treatment Plant in the city of David and outlying areas, Province of Chiriqui

Water and Sanitation

USD 296 Millions

Studies, Design, Construction, Operation and Maintenance of the Potable Water Treatment Plant in La Arenosa, Province of Panama – West Side

Water and Sanitation

USD 193 Millions

Studies, Design, Construction, Operation, and Maintenance of the Potable Water Treatment Plant in Gamboa, Province of Panama – West Side

Water and Sanitation

USD 138 Millions

Studies, Design, Construction, Operation, and Maintenance of the Potable Water Treatment Plant in Howard (José G. Rodriguez), Arraijan, Province of Panama – West Side

Water and Sanitation

USD 108 Millions

Studies, Design, Construction, Operation, and Maintenance of the Potable Water Treatment Plant of Sabanitas II, Colón

Water and Sanitation

USD 70 Millions

Improvements and Expansion of the Potable Water Treatment Plant in Villa Darién, Municipality of Metetí, District of Pinogana, Province of Darién

Water and Sanitation

USD 32 Millions

Studies, Design, Construction, Operation, and Maintenance of a new Module for the Federico Guardia Conte Potable Water Treatment Plant at Chilibre

Water and Sanitation

USD 30 Millions

Design and Construction of the Sewerage Network and Waste Water Treatment System for the city of Santiago, Province of Veraguas

Water and Sanitation

USD 95 Millions

 

Next steps for CoST Panama

 

CoST Panama is developing strategies and mechanisms in which integrity of public infrastructure spending could be enhanced. This includes a formal disclosure requirement by Executive Decree following CoST Infrastructure Data Standards, and developing an end-to-end disclosure and assurance online platform.

 

CoST Panama: Latest updates

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Date Published: 19 June 2017
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