According to various independent published reports, Panama has made great strides in improving the ease of doing business within the country. The World Bank prepares an annual report of 183 countries regarding the regulations they have pertaining to doing business in a particular country specifically the opening, operating and closing of a business. The study looks at 10 different indicators such as:
1. opening the business
2. getting construction permits
3. hiring employees
4. property registration
5. getting credit
6. protecting investors
7. paying taxes
8. commerce across borders
9. upholding contracts
10. closing a business
Panama improved in many of these points thereby climbing 4 notches to take position of 5th best place to invest and do business in Latin America.
Some of the things Panama has improved are the ease of opening a business which takes an estimated 12 working days, whereas the average for Latin America is 45 days. Opening costs are
also much lower in Panama being 11.5% of per capita income versus the region average which is 36.6% of per capita income. In Panama it only takes 6 steps to open a business whereas the average number of steps for the region is 10.8 steps. Another improvement which is not quantitative but qualitative is the fact that many of the documents and permits that are required can be obtained online through the government portal. Tax payment has also been streamlined and can be prepared and the tax statements can be delivered on-line as well.
On the real estate front the time that it takes to obtain a Construction Permit has gone down from 131 days to 116 days and the cost of the construction permit was also reduced from 123.3% of per capita income to 107.2% of per capita income. The length of time for property registration has also decreased from 44 days to 32 days.
Panama has made a lot of progress and is still moving forward. The Martinelli government is making strides in technology to upgrade many of the services rendered by government institutions so as to stream line the process.
For More Legal info on Panama business: PanamaQmagazine