Rebeca Santos said in an interview that the economic growth of more than six percent that Honduras enjoyed during the last two years cannot be maintained.
She said growth will more likely be in the range of five percent, and to help achieve that more modest goal the State is making a public investment of 12.6 billion lempiras (about 66.7 million dollars).
The consulting firms Indesa and Deloitte estimate that Panama's economy will grow by seven to eight percent this year.
This is slower than the 11.2 percent growth in 2007, with a pattern similar to that of the period 2004-2006.
Some international firms, like the Economist Intelligence Unit, are forecasting even higher growth and are predicting that Panama will again be the fastest-growing economy in Latin America this year.
Government officials estimate that the Panamanian economy closed 2010 with over 7% growth.
At a press conference by the Minister of Economy, Alberto Vallarino, the minister stated, "We have achieved a cumulative growth of seven percent which was our revised projection and if the trend of acceleration of the economy we've seen in the last four quarters continues (...) we can expect a higher growth for this fiscal year when final numbers are known in March."
He recommended that the Government continue, in the short-term, to provide subsidies to the needy to help ease the effects of the world food crisis and the high price of oil.
"Not all countries can celebrate an increase in growth like you have. It's worth the while to continue working for better policies in future, starting with education and those sectors of the country that are humbler and more vulnerable, and to which a greater part of the resources should be directed," he highlighted, according to a press release from the Ministry of the Economy (MEF).
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