The Convention on Mutual Tax Assistance approved by the Assembly increases, from 30 to 107, the number of partner jurisdictions or nations with whom Panama can exchange information.
From a statement issued by the Ministry of Economy and Finance:
With Panama's accession to the Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters (MAC), the country has increased the number of partner jurisdictions or nations with which it can perform an exchange of information from 30 to 107.This measures reiterates the commitment to international standards of fiscal transparency, which is essential for protecting the integrity of the country as a service center.
The Superintendency of Securities may provide access to bank information when investigations because of breaches are carried out in the stock market.
The decree took effect on December 17, 2016, and states that when the Superintendency of Securities (SMV) requires information on bank depositors and liabilities, this will be requested through the Superintendency of Banksof Panama. In addition, the two regulators signed a memorandum of understandingto facilitate exchange of information.
The revelation that the brazilian construction company paid nearly $60 million in bribes in Panama is a clear wake-up call to society and the private sector, which must demand transparency in government procurement processes.
When a company bribes government officials to win public works contracts not only does it cause serious damage to that country's institutions, but it also damages economic development and the performance of private companies who do operate within the framework of the law, paying taxes and complying with the law.
Defects and breaches of requirements have been indicated in the methods used by the Social Security Fund to carry out the process to tender medicines and supplies for laboratories.
Discrepancies were raised by the technical evaluation committee, which questioned the way the Social Security Fund awarded contracts in the tender to supply reagents and laboratory tests, published in September 2015 and recently awarded to three companies for $38 million.
The OECD report describes the country's compliance between July 2012 and June 2015 as "unsatisfactory", but highlights progress made in recent months.
From a statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs:
As part of the annual meeting of the Global Forum of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the report on Panama regarding the implementation of standards for transparency and exchange of information for tax purposes was approved and recognition given to the significant progress made by the country in recent months, highlighting the commitment to automatic exchange of information, updating the legal framework to facilitate international cooperation and the recent accession to the Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters (MAC, for short).
In the first seven months of the Morales administration government purchases executed 'by exception' decreased by 97% compared to the same period in 2015.
An article on Agn.com.gt reports that "... According to the System for Procurement and Contracts (Guatecompras), from January to July this year central government institutions made 21 awards using the exception process, while in the same period in 2015 706 purchases were made using this format."
In contrast to international doctrine on access to public information, a ruling by the Costa Rican Supreme Court has accepted as valid a crude duplicitous technique used to block data management required to a public institution.
Once the new law comes into effect minority investors will have access to information on transactions that represent at least 10% of a company's assets.
A statement issued by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry explains that"...The initiative proposes specific reforms to Articles 26, 189 and adding Article 32 to the Code of Commerce, as well as amending Article 426 of the Civil Procedure Code.
Nicaragua is the only country in the isthmus that was left out of the list of countries that meet the "minimum requirements" for fiscal transparency, according to the State Department.
The "Fiscal Transparency Report 2016" by the US State Department, includes Guatemala, Costa Rica, Panama, Honduras and El Salvador in the list of countries which meet the minimum requirements for fiscal transparency, which the State Department bases on the public availability of information on the state budget and government contracts and tenders for the exploration and exploitation of natural resources, including methods of tendering and conditions for concessions.
A bill approved in the Legislative Commission creates a register of shareholders to which the tax authority would have unrestricted access.
The main objective of the project against tax fraud is to enable the Directorate General of Taxation to seize the assets and bank accounts of taxpayers classified as delinquent, under the order of a judge.The embargoes could be extended for a period of up to two years.
The pressure being put on Panama in the international context has finally forced it to make agreements to exchange tax information, with the most noteworthy being the agreement with Colombia because of the negative implications it has for the Panamanian banking sector.
Prensa.com reports that "...According to the Superintendency of Banks of Panama, at the end of 2015, deposits in the international banking center of Panama from Colombia totaled $6.251 billion, with the South American country being the main center for funds originating from foreign sources. "
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