5 Jul 2008

Bottled water industry in Fiji ceases production

9:41 am on 5 July 2008

About 720 Fiji workers will be affected after the bottled water industry ceased production because of a new tax structure.

The industry yesterday said it had stopped all production.

This is after Cabinet imposed a 13 US cents per litre export duty on all mineral water exports and 13 US cents per litre excise duty on mineral water sold for domestic consumption.

The industry met yesterday afternoon and decided to cease operations, saying the new tax structure made it unprofitable to continue bottling

The meeting was held in Suva and attended by the Warwick Pleass, Fiji Water, VTY, Mr Pure, Island Chill, Aqua Pacific, Diamond Aqua, Tappoos Beverage, Fresh Spring Limited and Minerals Water of Fiji.

Bottled water industry spokesman, Jay Dayal, told the Fiji Times the water bottled industry "is at a standstill and all the workers will be sent home".

Last night, interim Finance Minister Mahendra Chaudhry said the interim Government had made a decision and the tax was already in place.