Panama, July 31st.

Today the “Consular Transparency Committee” was installed at the facilities of the Panama Maritime Authority (PMA), located in Diablo Heights. This Committee aims to inject more dynamism and transparency to the Panamanian Consulates, which offer diverse services abroad.

Four working committees were established (Legal Framework Commission, Financial Framework, Documentation Security and Consular Revenue Analysis) during the first meeting. Representatives from the public sector and from different organizations related to the maritime sector attended this meeting. These working committees will get the chance to carry out this project in a 3-month period.

The PMA’s Administrator, Mr. Jorge Barakat Pitty said that the decision of creating this Committee was recently approved by the Cabinet Council, in order to carry out a revision of the revenues coming from the Panamanian consulates.

This committee consists of the Panama Maritime Authority, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Economic and Finances.
The National Government is promoting transparency within the consular system, as the consulates represent Panama abroad, “therefore, we need to update the system and create controls, so that revenues come directly to the state treasury” said Barakat.

The primary goal is to establish a single consular account or an international online banking, which will be supervised by the Economy and Finance Minister. Thus, the revenue generated by each consulate will reach the state treasury; likewise it’s suitable to create a security seal to increase the reliability of the documentation generated from the consulates.

Several personalities attended this meeting, among them Mr. Luis Miguel Hincapié, Vice Chancellor, Mr. Tomás Ávila, the PMA’s Secretary-General, Mr. Carlos Villaverde Chief of the Financial Consular Bureau, Mrs. Magdalena Carrera, Seafarers Directorate Deputy Director, Mrs. Gladys Cedeño, Chief of the Finances Bureau; on behalf of the Merchant Marine General Directorate, Mrs. Elena Olmedo attended the meeting, from the Economic and Finance Ministry, Mr. Publio Cortéz and Mrs. Maria Alejandra López and representing the organizations related to maritime activity, Mr. Carlos Ernesto González De La Lastra, Mr. Guillermo Márquez Amado, Mrs. Jazmina Rovi and Mr. Encarnación Samaniego.

This committee which is working pro Bono, will develop a comprehensive proposal, with the consensus of the parties, that will be handed to His Excellency, Mr. Juan Carlos Varela, President of the Republic, and which later will be taken to the National Assembly (Panamanian Parliament), through a draft bill that promotes efficiency, order and transparency within the consular system as well as Panama´s leadership in the Vessel Registering.