Martinelli denies power grab from Finance Ministry
Wednesday, 29 September 2010 18:47
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Ricardo MartinelliRicardo Martinelli
Panama’s president, Ricardo Martinelli said on Wednesday, (September 30) that there is no intention to play down the involvement of the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) in government decisions.
“Nobody wants to take powers from the MEF,” said the President.
The Panamanian leader’s reaction follows a complaint from the Minister of Economy and Finance, Alberto Vallarino, who said he was not consulted on the project which gives authority to the Secretary of Goals “under the Presidency, to validate the general state budget, before the MEF submits it to Cabinet.
La Prensa had reported that for the second time in less than two weeks, the differences between the Minister of the Presidency, Demetrio Papadimitriu, Vallarino, had left the “cloister of the Cabinet Council.”
Vallarino had said: “We sent a bad signal abroad … That is a recipe for immediate problems with rating agencies and investors in the country, because it creates uncertainty, He said hat he had already requested in writing to the president, Ricardo Martinelli, make changes to the project.
The document went to the Committee on Economy of the Assembly from his close collaborator, the Deputy Finance Minister Dulcidio De La Guardia. The bill has already passed the first debate.
The opposition also criticized the project, claiming that it was another step by President Martinelli to increase his power.
Last week, ministers and Vallarino and Papadimitriu battled for control of the new National Authority for Land Management, which ended in the hands of the Ministry of Housing.
Martinelli said on Wednesday: “Nobody here wants to take away the powers of the MEF” “What we want is that campaign promises are fulfilled,” he said.
Martinelli said that a budget is a very complex work and therefore it is important that “implementation must be based on what has been promised.”