The proposal for reforms of the badly treated public procurement law advances incorporating new principles in state procurement. It seeks to reward local companies in municipal contracts under $50.000. This, which in principle seems positive, can degenerate into hiring entities linked to deputies, mayors and hangers-on, which would completely divert their purpose.
Public procurement legislation is the best vehicle for the State and municipalities to promote entrepreneurship, productive inclusion and business innovation. It is relatively easy to devise a purchasing system that rewards those companies with greater local labor, with more Panamanian inputs or with a lower carbon footprint that impacts the environment.
None of this appears in the drafts of the discussions. The perfidious idea of allowing surcharges to supposedly local companies will end up becoming a source of corruption and permanent political patronage.
Between 2016 and 2018, $728.7 million were disbursed to local governments, without any hint that a single community problem has been resolved in the country. -LA PRENSA, Oct.7