Panama is a unitary republic composed of provinces, indigenous regions, and districts or municipalities. In Panama, municipal autonomy is recognized by the Constitution and the Law 106, which also regulates the tax framework of the municipalities. The first decentralization law was presented in 2009 with Law 37, which also established the Real Estate Tax for the first time as municipal income, however, it was canceled before being implemented and was reintroduced in 2015 through Law 66, which amended and updated said law, becoming the real estate tax with the highest local income.
Panama has several regulations on land use planning and is making progress in creating a land and urban planning system. Competences in this area are provided to different State institutions, both at the national, provincial and local levels through national and local plans, as well as laws and decrees. Panama has a formal land-use planning policy that allows the development of a State vision in this matter in the short, medium and long term. The most relevant institutions within this process are the National Council for Sustainable Development and the Ministry of Housing and Land Management. Municipalities play a key role in preparing their own land use planning plans, while the Ministry of Housing and Land Management has the important role of training them.