Panamanian companies are seeing an increase in their security costs and they are starting to worry about the consequences on the investment climate in the country, especially the possible decline in tourism.
Cindy Calderon, in a Pa-digital.com article stated: "In the country, one of the main problems is the lack of security and rising crime, as is shown by the Confidence Index issued by the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture of Panama. Roberto Alfaro, president of the Panamanian Association of Business Executives (APEDE), said that the crime that exists in Panama can stop economic growth because investment could be reduced. The entrepreneur claimed they have had to invest part of their profits to get more security guards, alarms and surveillance cameras."
In El Salvador, the state budget allocated to security is $500 million a year, while the total amount invested by private enterprises for self-protection is $600 million.
"The combined budgets (National Civil Police, the Attorney General's Office and the Armed Forces of El Salvador) total about $500 million and the private sector invests over $600 million annually on security issues," said Jorge Daboub, president of the National Association of Private Enterprise (ANEP).
The costs generated by crime are equivalent to 11% of gross domestic product (GDP).
According to a recent World Bank report, crime and violence have an impact on economic growth not only in terms of loss of wages but it also affects the investment climate and diverts scarce government resources to strengthen the application of justice rather than promoting economic activity."
The phenomenon affects much of Latin America, whose countries spend on average 8% of their GDP on security costs.
That was the conclusion reached during the forum "Connecting businesses as partners for prosperity with security in the Americas", organized by the Organization of American States (OAS) and the private sector, under the framework of the Guatemala Investment Summit.
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