Panama has transitioned in the name of transparency into public bidding for all government projects be they small projects or huge infrastructure projects. There are some exceptions however. Some projects are still carried out by direct contract between the government and the company granted the contract.
One of the companies that has been granted several direct contracts worth millions of dollars is the Brazilian corporation, Norberto Odebrecht, who has built several of Panama’s recent mayor infrastructure project and is slated to build more still. During the previous administration Odebrecht built the
Cinta Costera for $189.1 million; the second phase of the Panama-Colon highway for $283.7 million; the Remigio Rojas irrigation system for $54.2 million and the building of a tunnel for the bay cleanup effort for $139 million. Two of these were through public bidding: the Cinta Costera and the tunnel for the bay cleanup, while another was directly assigned (Remigio Rojas irrigation system), the other one was assigned to Odebrecht by another company. Odebrecht also got the contract for the extension of the Cinta Costera worth $52 million plus a large contract in Chiriqui to channel the waters of the River Caldera which runs through Boquete, responsible for last years flooding. The Caldera River contract is worth $114 million and Odebrecht was directly invited to bid for this project.
Norberto Odebrecht is a Brazilian multi-national corporation founded in the 1940’s with massive infrastructure projects around the globe, in Latin America, South America, Africa and the United States.
It seems that Panama and Norberto Odebrecht will be doing business for a while yet. This being the case it was important news that Norberto Odebrecht received Investment Grade classification from Moody’s, one of the main classification agencies in the world. The company was issued the grade Triple B on the global scale of the rating agency.
For more on the build out of Panama: PanamaQmagazine