Businessmen from the Colon Free Zone in Panama suggest caution with quarantine lifting

Editorial Dept. Voz de la Diaspora

With great reserve and caution, observe the Association of Users of the Colon Free Zone (AUZLC) the announcement of a future gradual lifting of quarantine in some sectors of the Panamanian economy, as case numbers continue to rise and patients recovered by Covid-19 remain low.

"When the quarantine begins to lift, we do not know, It would have to be decided by the team of experts that handles the pandemic day by day and that is comparing models and patterns that have been applied in the world and that have been positive., taking the precautions that our continent has different characteristics from those nations ", said the president of Users, Daniel Rojas.

Rojas specified that an aggressive awareness campaign, gradualness, prudence, strict enforcement and supervision, will be determining factors of the gradual return to "a different normality", always protecting older adults, heart patients, diabetics, Chronically ill, pregnant women and lung patients.

"We are very clear about the gap that we are creating for the country when on average we generate 20 thousand jobs and we contribute to the General State budget just over USD $ 15 million annually, and that currently we have a fall in the trade movement accumulated until March, close to two digits ”, added the businessman.

“The entrepreneurs of the Free Zone have been going through very difficult times and we appeal to the Government's sense of solidarity in the midst of this harsh trial that worsened last March and forced more than 700 companies in our free zone to close their doors, forcing most of their workforce to be sent home, while still complying with your employment benefits. The ability of these businesses to deal with this crisis will depend on ensuring and protecting those jobs, "said the AU president..

The business union highlighted, that the day that corresponds to lift the quarantine, there are already a series of projects and recommendations; mainly related to Electronic Commerce and cargo handling; as with the Special Regime for the Establishment and Operation of Multinational Companies for the Provision of Services Related to Manufacturing (EMMA).

"We have all the capabilities to start almost immediately, what is missing is little, basically focused on advanced technology. We are in order to contribute what we have to modernize and transform a more competitive ZLC ”, specified Rojas.

The business leader specified that the Government of President Laurentino Cortizo must be aligned and aware that by gradually lifting the quarantine, it will face the risk of a flare-up of the coronavirus pandemic and the global recession.. "We must face effectively both crises that are threats, but, that the main thing is to protect in the best possible way the life of every Panamanian and foreigner in Panama ”.

Referring to the awareness campaign as the first measure before the removal of the quarantine, Rojas stressed that it must be based on sanitary measures, like social distancing, frequent temperature taking, use of masks, avoid crowds, frequent hand washing, sanitation mechanisms in the workplace, among other, all these recommendations based on the protocols established by the Ministry of Health.

By last, the president of the Users of the Panamanian free zone specified that the return of the collaborators of the public sector must be those of services strictly necessary.