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Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp 10 IMMIGRATION KIOSKS INSTALLED AT SANGSTER INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT Related Items:agri-tourism, food import bill, Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill, reduce, Tourism Linkages Hub Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppKINGSTON, July 3 (JIS): Tourism and Entertainment Minister, Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill, says the strengthening of linkages between tourism and agriculture has the potential to boost both sectors and reduce the country’s food import bill.He said a demand study conducted by the Tourism Linkages Hub, housed in the Ministry, indicates that tourism can potentially generate the “greatest benefits” for farmers and the suppliers of local produce.Dr. McNeill was addressing tourism and agriculture interests at the first in a series of Tourism Linkages Hub stakeholders’ consultations held recently at the Golf View Hotel in Mandeville, Manchester.Noting that the tourism industry is “doing quite well,” welcoming some 3.5 million stopover and cruise ship visitors over the past two years, he said the sector has also attracted “significant levels of investments” with an additional 5,500 hotel rooms earmarked for development over the next three years.Dr. McNeill said the Government is looking to translate the success of the sector to other segments of the society, including the agricultural sector. He argued that by producing food and selling it to the hotels, attractions, and guest houses, the money stays in Jamaica and reduces imports. “That’s what we want to do…that’s how we are going to grow the economy of Jamaica, and that’s how we are going to enrich Jamaicans,” the Minister said.Dr. McNeill said that for the linkage to work, all stakeholders must collaborate to determine the produce needed, and how these will the supplied in terms of volume, quality, cost, and timelines.“I have said to the hub that we are going to put the systems in place. They have done the demand study; I have gone through it… (but) more work needs to be done; we are going to have to drill down even more into this area (agriculture),” Dr. McNeill said.“The opportunities are there; it’s up to us to really push and do it,” he added.In his remarks, Agriculture, Labour and Social Security Minister, Hon. Derrick Kellier, said the agro-tourism linkage is an idea “whose time has come.”He commended Dr. McNeill on his vision to establish the linkages hub, and the focus on increasing the supply of local produce to the tourism market. “Dr. McNeill and his team truly understand that cuisine is, indeed, a major component of the tourism and hospitality industry, and that market, therefore, is an attractive and lucrative one for the agricultural sector,” he noted.Mr. Kellier said a close examination of Jamaica’s high food import bill shows that a large proportion of the products brought in goes to the tourism sector.“We believe, however, that Jamaican produce and our renowned cuisine must be a part of the menu provided in our hotels and resorts. We, therefore, welcome every strategy that will enable us to increase our supply to a market that has come right into our front room,” he stated.Mr. Kellier added that: “Jamaica can only prosper on a sustainable basis when we develop and maintain linkages to ensure that every industry and economic activity allows as many people as possible, to prosper.”Over 50 representatives of public and private sector institutions and interests attended the meeting. Recommended for you Tourism Minister Welcomes Spanish Hotel Chain Melia Jamaica Secures Additional Airline Seats Out Of Europe
A coffee shop displays signs for Visa, MasterCard and Discover, in Washington, May 1, 2013.Reuters fileAs the global payments companies prepare themselves for setting up servers locally, they may end up paying 15 per cent tax on their India income. The payments majors Visa, Mastercard and American Express were directed by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to locally set up their data centres on all transactions taking place within India from October 15.The companies had informed the central bank that they would comply with the directives. Presently, these payments companies are not taxed as per the Indian laws since the legislation says that the foreign companies having ‘permanent establishment’ in the country would be liable to pay tax.These companies operate in India through offices in jurisdictions such as Singapore and store data on servers located in countries like the US and Ireland. In taxation, permanent establishment determines the place where a company is liable to be taxed.The Economic Times reported that the tax experts are of the opinion that after these companies move their server in India, they will be treated as having a permanent establishment here which would mean that they would be liable to pay tax under domestic laws.One of the tax experts said that “as per tax treaties India has with various countries, the server on which a website or data or software is stored and through with it is accessible is a piece of equipment having a physical location. Such a location can be considered as a fixed place of business of the enterprise that owns or leases and operates the server.”The corporates are taxed at a rate of 30 per cent on their profits however, these payment companies are likely to be taxed at around 15 per cent, the rate at which companies that have invested in India through their arms in countries like Singapore are taxed. It is to be noted that payments major are bracing themselves for tax implications arising out of this development.Meanwhile, Visa and American Express have informed that they have submitted plans to come in lines with regulations introduced by the RBI. In the wake of the data protection debate, the government and the RBI are taking lieu of measures to safeguard the user data in the country.