Panama will regulate the price of 72 types of food after protests
(Reuters) – The Panamanian government said on Monday that it will regulate the price of 72 food products after weeks of protests and roadblocks to demand urgent measures to stop the rapid escalation of prices in the Central American nation.
Dissatisfied with the price increase, protesters have blocked roads and prevented cargo trucks from delivering food, a tactic in the protests that have been going on for three weeks, while the Consumer Price Index for June registered a year-on-year variation of 5.2%, exceeding that registered during 2021 of 2.6%.
“With the regulation of the 72 products, the decrease in the cost of the basic food basket would be 30% and savings of more than 80 dollars,” the Presidency of the Republic said in a statement, after the Government and powerful guilds, with the Catholic Church acting as mediator, reached an agreement.
The government of President Laurentino Cortizo has implemented price controls on a dozen foods and applied other austerity measures for public institutions that included 10% of state workers.
But protesters are demanding more be done, including restrictions on public spending, greater transparency and more investment in health and education.
The Cortizo administration first set the price of gasoline and diesel at $3.95 a gallon and then lowered it to $3.25, in an unsuccessful attempt to stop protests across the country.
Negotiations are ongoing and the government has asked the protesters to end the blockades, but they have refused to do so until an agreement is reached on all the demands.
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