MEF and World Bank make $40 million loan; the first electronically

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By LatAm Reports Editor

A $40 million loan contract was entered by the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) and representatives of the World Bank (WB). This would be the first funding that is done electronically, for the first time in the Republic of Panama, reported the director of Public Finance, Julio Marquínez M., in a statement.

In the press release of the MEF, he details that the resources obtained are allocated to various projects, within the programme of “Consolidation of the Information System of Public Finance Management of the Public Finances” that is implemented by the Ministry of Economy and Finance.

Marquínez explained that one of its most significant components is the implementation of a new platform for the administration of assets.

This platform will make it possible to manage the inventory of assets at the level of all entities, as well as its impact on the accounting of assets. From the purchasing procedure, the assets of the recovery, depreciation and accounting at the level of the rector will be fed, which is the Directorate of Patrimony Property of the State – This entity will be able to carry out inspections, monitoring, audits and inventory control, in addition to participating in the sales and discarding processes with the follow-up of the Comptroller’s Office, he said in the statement.

Marquinez stressed that, at the technological level, another crucial component of this project is the change of platform in the Comptroller General of the Republic for the management of the plan of the entire central government.

A new technological platform will be developed that will make it possible to make the payment of the plan on the plan as a more efficient and reflect its impact on the budget and on the accounting in real time, he said.

In addition, he stressed that another macro component of the project involves the change of the Siga platform, used by the National Customs Authority for import declarations and the payment of taxes. This change will allow the Directorate General of Revenue and the Istm system to analyze the impacts of imports, integrating technological changes in several entities, he said.

Regarding the context of the pandemic, Marquínez mentioned that multilateral agencies and banks in general modernized to facilitate processes, introducing electronic signatures for all. In collaboration with the World Bank, they have implemented procedures in electronic signatures to request disbursements and justify the use of funds in multilaterally backed projects, but a loan contract had never been formalized through their electronic signature.

This precedent marks a milestone, allowing all loan contracts, such as those of multinationals, to evolve towards this type of procedure with electronic signature. In addition, it lays the groundwork for the general public administration to gradually move towards electronic signature, which could lead to future processes where control is carried out digitally, a final goal for the Republic of Panama, he said.

This article has been translated from the original which first appeared in La Estrella