Panamanian civil organizations make progress in negotiations with the government on fuel prices

Panama’s government has agreed to set the price of a gallon (3.8 liters) of fuel at around 3.30 euros (B/.3.32 in local currency), after civil organizations refused to freeze the price at 3.4 Panamanian balboas.

This measure is a proposal of the National Alliance for the Rights of the Organized People (Anadepo). However, members of the organization have indicated that they will not sign an agreement until progress is made in negotiations on the price of basic foodstuffs and medicines.

“We want to go out telling the people that there are thirty, forty products that are going to be frozen, but without affecting the producer, that is what we want, we are not going to sign anything even if we agree with the price of fuel at 3.32, they have to bring immediate answers,” said Luis Sanchez, representative of Anadepo.

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Panama’s vice-president, José Gabriel Carrizo, has informed that on Saturday night the issue of the price of basic foodstuffs would be analyzed with government technicians, while on Sunday morning the cost of medicines would be addressed.

In the previous days, citizen associations refused to sit at the table with the Government to achieve solutions in the framework of the country’s protests over the misuse of public finances and the high cost of living.

The demonstrators, who are protesting high fuel and commodity prices as well as the mismanagement of public finances, have blocked streets and some of the main access roads to urban centers.

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Panama’s National Assembly announced last Wednesday a nine-point austerity plan that contemplates the suspension of travel and trips –both outside and inside Panama– by members of the Government and other high officials.

Other measures include the freezing of salary increases and new appointments, training sessions, advertising services, as well as the purchase of equipment and material for the institutions.

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