8 Jul 2008

Fiji Minister challenges water companies to pay

10:19 am on 8 July 2008

Fiji's Interim Finance Minister, Mahendra Chaudhry, said it's about time that water bottling companies pay duty for using Fiji's mineral water resource.

All companies that bottle water in Fiji have decided to stop selling their products, in protest against the interim administration's decision to slap a 20 percent tax on every litre of water they sell.

But Mahendra Chaudhry told Fiji Village the companies have been exempted from paying duty over the past years and they should take some personal responsibility to start paying now.

He says Cabinet decided to impose the duty from the beginning of this month, and the companies should get ready to pay.

Mr Chaudhry says the companies should now give back something to Fiji as they are gaining a lot through the country's mineral water resources.

The spokesperson for the ten water bottling companies, Jay Dayal, confirms that they have not been paying any duty on the water extracted in the past.

He said they only pay duty on other raw materials.