Debt of public companies increases

This debt is excluded from the country's national debt.


The debt owed by public companies reached $2.3 billion at the end of October, a 29.9 percent increase from December 2015 according to reports of the Ministry of Economy and Finance.

In 2011, an amendment to the fiscal responsibility law excluded the debts owed by entities such as Tocumen, S.A., the National Highway Company (ENA) and the state-owned electric transmission company Etesa from the public sector debt, which is subject to certain limits by law.

Since then, the three entities have seen their debts increase drastically, and in particular Tocumen, S.A. and ENA, which are in the midst of massive expansion projects.

These entities, however, have also seen their incomes increase, and do not rely on the state to guarantee their debts.

Economist Carlos Arauz said that the situation tends to create confusion because the debts of these companies are ultimately the responsibility of the state, and should be reflected in the deficit figures.


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