Panama climbs six positions in Doing Business international ranking

The World Bank (WB) announced the results of this year's Doing Business ranking, in which Panama achieved an escalation of six positions, from 61st up to 55th. The latest report, which assesses the ease of doing business in 189 countries around the world, ranks the isthmus number one in Central America and the fifth country in Latin America, coming in after Chile (34th), Peru (42nd), Colombia (43rd), and Mexico (53rd).

The Minister of the Presidency, Roberto Henríquez, affirmed that "we are aware that there is still much to be done, and that the country faces new challenges as it becomes more competitive; however, these sorts of studies indicate that we are on the right path. They are a useful tool to identify our strengths, as well as those areas we have to continue working on."

According to a statement released by the Secretariat of Communications, the key factor in this accomplishment is the hard work undertaken by such government entities as ANATI, Superintendency of Securities, The Municipality of Panama, MEF-ANIP, MICI-Panama Emprende, Social Security Fund, Public Registry, AIG, and the Panama Fire Department, along with the teamwork done by the Ministry of the Presidency, through the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Competitiveness.

The 2013/14 report acknowledges these efforts and highlights Panama as one of the economies that improved in three or more indicators, due to having implemented reforms that make the country more conducive to starting and operating a company.

Panama made progress in the following indicators: Starting a Business: simplifying the registration process for new companies by interconnecting the Municipality of Panama with Panama Emprende, a portal for entrepreneurs (obtaining both the Municipal Taxpayer number and notice of operation);Registering Property: expediting the transfer of property deeds, automatically updating the deed with the Cadastral Department, increasing administrative efficiency (staff reorganization);Getting Electricity;Dealing with Construction Permits: implementing a new blueprint approval process, improving administrative efficiency, increasing the ease of registering renovations performed.

Panama also improved in the Protecting Investors indicator by disclosing more transactions and broadening information transparency for its shareholders and investors. As for Paying Taxes, income tax obligations decreased in frequency from monthly payments to four per year, and a new platform was created to declare taxes online.

The country retained its positions in the categories of Trading across Borders (11th) and Resolving Insolvency (112th).

The executive secretary of Economic Affairs and Competitiveness, Kristelle Getzler, expressed that "these results are not only an achievement for the government, but for the entire country, and are the result of a coordinated effort among various government institutions, coupled with feedback from the private sector."