The Peñas Blancas border crossing. Photo from archives

Eradicating problems in infrastructure, lack of inter-institutional coordination, insecurity, lack of user controls, repetitive and inefficient procedures, budget deficiencies, and informal activities are some of the main goals of the Border Integration Program (Programa de Integración Fronteriza in Spanish) approved last Thursday in a second debate in the Legislative Assembly.

The approval permits the Ministry of Foreign Trade (COMEX), the designated executing agency, to make use of a US$100 millionloan by the Inter-American Development Bank

The objective of the financing is for the construction, purchase of equipment and improvements needed to processes at the border crossings of Peñas Blancas and Las Tablillas (with Nicaragua) and Paso Canoas and Sixaola (with Panama).

For several years chaos at the border crossings has cause long lines for people to cross and rows of trucks, sometimes for kilometers,  waiting to cross with goods shipments to Panama, Nicaragua or other Central American countries. 

The proposal to modernize the land border crossings and negotiate a loan with the IDB began in 2012.