Between January and December hiring by the private sector went up by 5% compared to the previous year, driven by fixed term contracts, which grew by almost 9%.
Figures from the Ministry of Labor and Workforce Development (Mitradel) show that in 2016 290,367 new contracts were signed, of which 114,553 were for fixed term contracts, 81,265 were permanent contracts and the rest were for specific works.
In the past five years direct contracting on the part of the State has increased by 90%, undermining fair competition between suppliers and adequate transparency in the use of public resources.
As the Comptroller General of the Republic points out, although the option to use the mechanism of direct purchase rather than holding a tender is legal, state entities should not abuse its use, as they have been doing in recent years.
The Tourism Authority of Panama will directly hire an advertising agency to develop two years of international promotion campaigns.
The head of the entity, Gustavo Him, told Prensa.com that "... the call began last week and they expect to receive six proposals in the month of May." The decision not to invite tenders and make a direct hire was made by the National Tourism Council, who came to this conclusion because of the delays that occurred in the process of defining the tender.
Transparency International believes that the bill currently under discussion is insufficient to prevent corruption in the state procurement system.
According to the Panamanian chapter of Transparency International, the bill on public procurement in the country should include aspects such as making public the annual action plan to further reduce discretion to recruit directly, eliminating the possibility of "addenda which is harmful to the interests of the State " or improving the process of paying bills.
The Attorney General has requested investigating whether there were cost overruns in the works in the country awarded to the construction firm which is accused of corruption by the Brazilian justice system.
The Attorney General's Office has asked the Comptroller General of the Republic of Panama for an audit of the prime contractor for the Panamanian government, Odebrecht, in order to know "in detail" about the contracts awarded to the Brazilian construction firm, where the works amount to $9, billion, reported Prensa.com . The prosecutor Rigoberto Gonzalez intends to audit both the works already delivered and those which are still running.
A contract has been awarded, directly, for ground support and flight dispatch, amid questions about the procurement process not being followed correctly.
Arguing that this is to do with a business operating contract and not a concession, criticism from the authorities of the Autonomous Executive Port Commission were defended. Although the company had promoted the tender in March 05/2015 "Selecting two operators to provide the service of ground support and flight dispatch of aircraft to airlines and general aviation", the procurement was made without following the Law on Procurement of Public Administration (LACAP).
The elimination of the abbreviated tenders is part of the search for greater transparency, although it will mean more red tape.
The first major change in the law is the elimination of the changes made to it during the Martinelli administration which will return the law practically to its original features. One of the promises that the Public Procurement Directorate says it is sticking to is adhering to transparency, so that the procurement processes are as clear and transparent as possible, particularly as far as costs are concerned.
Salvadoran laboratories and drug suppliers are complaining that in their purchases the government favors foreign companies over national ones.
The Association of Chemical Industrial Pharmaceutical Companies in El Salvador (Inquifar) states that a change made in the law, which allows the Ministry of Health to make direct contracts rather than tenders, is the reason behind the exclusion of domestic enterprises from drug purchases .
An initiative in the Legislature is attempting to remove modifications made to the law during the Martinelli administration, which currently allows more flexible processes, such as abbreviated tenders.
Since 2009, Law 22 of 2006 on public procurement has been amended nine times, which is why an attempt is being made to go "back to basics" of the legislation by removing some of the changes. Changes made in recent years "... allow the discretion of public servants through a standard which until 2008 was a model for Latin America. "
In order to shorten timeframes the Ministry of Transport and Public Works of Costa Rica intends to award the work not by tender but by private contest.
The difficulty in implementing public works Costa Rica is notorious, due to a heavy system of checks and guarantees which causes sometimes indefinite extensions of state infrastructure projects. Now the Ministry of Public Works itself is seeking to circumvent this legal tangle by awarding a work $40 million through an emergency system of a direct contract contest.
Local construction companies claim that public works contracts contain conditions and requirements which limit the participation of Panamanian companies.
The requirements, for finances recruitment and experience required in public tenders exclude and disadvantage companies founded on "genuinely Panamanian" capital, who according to the president of the Panamanian Chamber of Construction (Capac) are not able to fully comply. For this reason the union has once again asked the government to review the requirements and conditions.
Discussion is being given to hiring an external company to provide consulting services in order to improve the management and collection of taxes.
The proposal which emerged from the leadership of former Finance Minister Pavel Centeno, is once again gaining strength at a time when the Tax Authority is analysing different alternatives to raising tax revenue.
Engineers in different specialties, sales representatives and administrative assistants, who are all fluent in English, are those most in demand.
The Talent Shortage Survey, conducted by ManpowerGroup Costa Rica among 620 employers, found that in the case of university courses "engineering (with their different emphases) is the only one that stands out in the list of jobs in demand this year ... ", reported Nacion.com.
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Barrantes & Associates is a full service Costa Rica Law firm located in San Jose Costa Rica. We have been in business since 1999.
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