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Citigroup Inc., the world’s largest bank, and the Banco Nacional de Fomento Económico y Social de Brasil (Bndes), the Brazilian government’s primary investment bank, will finance the construction of the second stretch of the Panama-Colon freeway, a total investment of 215.8 million dollars.
Despite the prolonged negotiation process, a decision has been made to continue the construction of the Panama-Colon freeway. A vote among members of the Cabinet Meeting unanimously approved the development’s partial transfer from the Mexican company Proyectos y Construcciones, S.A. to the Brazilian construction company Norberto Odebrecht S.A. for the construction, operation, maintenance and expansion of the Panama-Colon Highway. Odebrecht S.A. has over 60 years of experience carrying out macro-projects in Latin America, including the Remigio Roja irrigation project in Alanje, Chiriqui. The financial resources will be administered through a BNP Paribas controlled trust.
The Banco Nacional de Panamá will provide a 100 million dollar loan for one year at 6.25% annual. The Ministry of Economics and Finances evaluated five bank offers to finance the entire freeway, among them the Banco Nacional. Luis Manuel Hernández, the vice secretary of Public Works, mentioned that the temporary loan will allow construction to begin at the end of January. The job entails constructing 26.5-miles of freeway at a cost of five million dollars per 0.62-mile, and is expected to be completed in 24 months.
The infrastructure will unite the work done by Pycsa, which consisted of only 8-miles at a cost of 84 million dollars, or 6.5 million per 0.62-miles.
This expansion is a positive move for a variety of reasons. The Government considers the project to be of utmost economic importance to the Colon province. Panamanian President Martin Torrijos commented that this project will provide direct and progressive employment for approximately 1,800 residents of the Colon Province over the next two years. Furthermore, it is expected that there will be less highway related accidents due to safer traveling conditions and an increase in tourism on the Caribbean coast of the country.