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LatinNews Daily - 27 October 2021

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In brief: Panama approves 2022 budget

* Panama’s national assembly has approved the state US$25.29bn budget for 2022, up 4% on the modified budget approved for 2021. The approved budget included an increase of some US$560m on the initiative proposed by the government led by President Laurentino Cortizo and, according to the economy & finance ministry (MEF), is in line with fiscal deficit targets outlined in the social and fiscal responsibility law (LRSF). MEF minister Héctor Alexander said the adjustment reflected “clear signs of recovery from the crisis provoked by the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic” which caused Panama’s GDP to contract 17.9% in 2020. The United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America & the Caribbean (Eclac) forecasts that Panama’s GDP will grow 12% in 2021. According to a MEF press release the approved 2022 budget includes, among other things, US$11.58bn for the development of social services; US$202m for environmental and technological development; US$1.57bn for infrastructure; US$3.97bn for financial services; and US$3.9bn to go on servicing public debt.