24 Jul 2008

Fiji water dispute settled with compromise

2:08 pm on 24 July 2008

Fiji's interim regime has reached a compromise with the country's water bottlers and dropped a 20 cent tax on every litre of water sold.

The interim government had imposed the tax to get the companies to pay for using the water.

Yesterday, the bottlers stopped all production and filed a lawsuit, saying it put their industry, and more than 700 jobs, at risk.

The interim attorney general, Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum, says they have reached an agreement with the water bottlers last night.

"What has been agreed is that the excise duty that was going to be charged, the twenty cent per litre, and the export duty also will now be stopped on the basis that negotiations will take place regarding a new form of levy that will be charged on the extraction of water."

Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum says it's unclear what this levy could look like.

The interim finance minister, Mahendra Chaudhry, who was for the tax, was not present at the talks.