LatinNews Daily - 28 July 2023

In brief: Panama gov’t unveils 2024 state budget proposal

* Panama’s economy & finance minister, Héctor Alexander, has announced that the government led by President Laurentino Cortizo has finalised its proposed 2024 budget for US$32.75bn which it now plans to send to the 71-member unicameral legislature for discussion. The 2024 budget proposal is up from US$27.57bn approved for last year’s budget. The initiative was presented by Carlos González, the director of the government’s budget office (Diprena), who said that it was in the framework of fiscal consolidation efforts with the aim of improving debt sustainability; it seeks to reduce debt from 64.7% of GDP in 2020 to 53.4% of GDP in 2024. A presidential press release highlights that the budget proposal allocates 7% of GDP (US$5.74bn) to education and, as in 2023, also seeks to strengthen the justice sector, allocating it US$700m to “guarantee the effectiveness of its programmes and activities”. The press release also highlights that US$14.4bn will go on developing social services while US$5.85bn will go on servicing public debt - which it claimed was, in the most part, inherited from previous governments.

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