Premier Foods has denied claims it has been ‘blackmailing’ companies into investing money – to stay as its suppliers.It said the payments had benefited both parties, by building more ‘strategic partnerships’.The food giant hit the headlines today after Newsnight discovered a letter written by the company’s chief executive, Gavin Darby, asking a supplier to “make an investment payment to support [their] growth”.Premier Foods has now released a statement claiming that the investment into the company’s growth plans had received a “positive response” as suppliers in turn had benefitted from the investments.The statement said: “We launched our ‘invest for growth’ programme in July last year as part of a broader initiative to reduce complexity in support of plans to help turn around the business.“This included a commitment to halve the number of our suppliers and develop more strategic partnerships focused on mutual growth.“As part of the programme, our suppliers are asked to make an annual voluntary investment to help fund our growth plans. In return, our suppliers benefit from opportunities to secure a larger slice of our current business. They also stand to gain as our business grows in the future.“In the current challenging environment, the support of all of our suppliers is crucial. We are delighted with the positive response we have had from many who are actively engaging in building a new partnership with us, including many small companies. Indeed, many of our suppliers have seen their business grow as a result.”Premier Foods has maintained that it was confident the scheme did not break any rules under competition law. The government said it was “concerned by recent reports”.
Vermont Senators Patrick Leahy (D) and Bernie Sanders (I) and Representative Peter Welch (D) reported Wednesday that Vermont local governments are set to receive $896,432 for Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) – the federal payments to local governments that help compensate communities for nontaxable federal lands within their boundaries. Fifty-six towns and counties in Vermont will receive payments, ranging from $214 to $70,513. PILT payments nationally declined this year, but Vermont will see a 2 percent rise over last year and a four percent increase from two years ago. PILT payments can be used by communities in their budgets for things such as firefighting and emergency response or school or road improvements. Leahy, Sanders and Welch have long supported the compensatory payments to Vermont communities. Leahy is a senior member of the Subcommittee on the Interior and the Environment, which has jurisdiction over funding for the Interior Department and the PILT Program.The PILT formula is based on the number of acres of federal entitlement land within each county or jurisdiction and the population within that area. The lands include the Green Mountain National Forest and the National Park System, lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management, and land affected by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Bureau of Reclamation water resource development projects, and others.The top recipients in Vermont are listed below:County Payment Total AcresCHITTENDEN TOWN $70,513 29,409WOODFORD TOWN $60,063 25,051RIPTON TOWN $53,230 22,201SUNDERLAND TOWN $52,471 21,884HANCOCK TOWN $46,244 19,287PERU TOWN $41,206 17,186WINHALL TOWN $37,912 15,812GRANVILLE TOWN $35,461 14,790BENNINGTON COUNTY $35,403 26,630MOUNT TABOR TOWN $31,922 25,117ROCHESTER TOWN $30,197 12,594TOTAL $896,432 410,454Source: Vermont congressional delegation. WASHINGTON (WEDNESDAY, June 30, 2010) –
Researchers from the Institute of Economics, Zagreb Marina Tkalec, Ivan Žilić and Vedran Recher published in the prestigious scientific journal in the field of tourism the International Journal of Tourism Research scientific paper “Effects of the film industry on tourism: Game of Thrones and Dubrovnik” in which they evaluate “On tourist results in Dubrovnik-Neretva County.The results of the evaluation carried out using the method of assessing the effect of treatment suggest that the filming of the “Game of Thrones” in Dubrovnik had a very positive effect on tourism results. According to the results of the evaluation, in the period from 2012 to 2015 alone, the Dubrovnik-Neretva County was visited by an average of 60 more tourists every year due to the filming of “Game of Thrones”.Cumulatively, during the entire analyzed period, the Dubrovnik-Neretva County was visited by 244.415 more tourists due to the filming of the “Game of Thrones” in Dubrovnik, who realized almost a million and a half more nights (1.441.395 more nights). The guests who visited the county motivated by the “Game of Thrones” also spent a total of 126 million euros in the analyzed period.Scientists from the Institute of Economics, Zagreb, also found that the filming of “Game of Thrones” in Dubrovnik (it should be noted that Dubrovnik was the original filming location to which locations in other counties were added in later seasons) led to positive tourist results. in other counties, but this spillover effect to other counties was not subject to evaluation of the published work.Photo: InstagramOne of the most popular series in the world, “Game of Thrones”, began filming in Dubrovnik in 2011 in its second season. Dubrovnik was chosen as the location for King´s Landing, the fictional capital of the seven kingdoms that appears frequently in the series. The rich and exceptionally preserved Dubrovnik’s cultural and architectural heritage fits perfectly into the medieval context of the series, which is why images of Dubrovnik’s city walls, Lovrijenac and Lokrum often appear in the series. These recordings left a strong impression on the viewers of the series, raising the global visibility of Dubrovnik and stimulating the demand for tourist visits to that city.”Evaluations of this type are of great social and economic importance because they enable policy makers to assess the profitability of possible investments of public funds in attracting production companies that would shoot new films and series in Croatia in the future. Such evaluations should be done for all other forms of spending public funds and subsidies, so that both taxpayers and policy makers are sure that investing public money through certain public policies is both economically and socially justified.”From the Institute of Economics in ZagrebUnfortunately, in Croatia such evaluations are very rare, so decisions on spending public funds are usually made without any prior evaluation, while subsequent evaluations of the efficiency of spending these funds are either not done or conducted at a very superficial and insufficiently professional level.You can read the whole scientific paper here
New Demerara bridge corruption probe…as Unit completes investigationThe Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) has completed its investigation into the sole-sourced feasibility study contract for the new Demerara River bridge, with the file now in the hands of the Police Legal Advisor.The contract for the feasibility study was awarded to Dutch company LievenseCSOThis was confirmed by SOCU Head, Assistant Police Commissioner (retired) Sydney James on Monday. In a brief interview with Guyana Times, James noted that the file has been in the hands of the Legal Adviser, Justice (retired) Claudette Singh, for several weeks.The contract in question was awarded to Dutch company LievenseCSO, for a feasibility study into the new Demerara River bridge. The Opposition requested that the Public Procurement Commission (PPC) investigate the award of the $148 million sole-sourced contract.In its report on the matter, the Commission flagged Public Infrastructure Minister David Patterson for requesting from Cabinet that the contract be sole sourced, instead of being processed through the Procurement Board as the law says should be done.After agitation from the parliamentary Opposition, SOCU had begun investigating the contract award. Right from the start, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo had stressed the need for the Unit to avoid showing favouritism to Patterson, particularly at a time when Opposition politicians were being brought into SOCU for questioning on other matters.For some time, the Opposition criticised the fact that Minister Patterson was not summoned for questioning, but was instead allowed to provide statements to SOCU – in contrast to the treatment meted out to the Opposition during the Pradoville probe. Eventually, however, SOCU did bring the Minister in for questioning on November 19, 2018.Besides the LievenseCSO contract, probes were also requested by Opposition Chief Whip Gail Teixeira and Opposition parliamentarian Juan Edghill, into the D’Urban Park Project and the Sussex Street drug bond. In a letter to the Commission’s Chairperson, Carol Corbin, Edghill had identified aspects of the project the Party was most concerned about.The Opposition had noted that despite promises to the contrary, no account of donations received between September 2015 and January 2016 was made public. It, therefore, queried the procurement process used for works on the project.The scope a private company has to engage contractors and receive funding for a public project also came into question. The party queried the budgeted and actual costs throughout the project, as well as the final cost. In addition, the Party had demanded information on what payments were made to individuals and contractors up to June.In the case of the controversial Sussex Street, Albouystown bond Government has since ceased renting, Edghill also approached the PPC to call for an investigation into the contract inked between the Public Health Ministry and a known financier of the coalition Administration.The former Government Minister had wanted the Procurement Commission to investigate specifically how a contract for a bond for the storage of pharmaceuticals and medical supplies was sole-sourced from an entity that did not own and/or operate such a facility and further “how was the company’s primary Director, Larry Singh, made aware that a drug bond was needed”.