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LatinNews Daily - 31 July 2020

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In brief: Panama’s gov’t unveils 2021 budget proposal

* Panama’s economy & finance minister, Héctor Alexander, has unveiled the government’s proposed state budget for 2021, of US$24.1bn - a 3.3% increase on the previous budget. Alexander said that under the new budget, 15% of spending would be assigned to health; 12% to education; and 12% to social security and protection. The minister also said that US$1.6bn had been assigned to infrastructure, including US$440m for the Panama metro and US$338m for the state electricity transmission company, Empresa de Transmisión Eléctrica SA (Etesa). The budget is based on the premise that Panama’s economy will recover from the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic to grow by 4% in 2021. Addressing the private sector lobby Asociación Panameña de Ejecutivos de Empresas (Apede), President Laurentino Cortizo yesterday (30 July) said that he expected the economy to contract by 9% this year.