25 Jul 2008

Fiji interim regime confirms repeal of tax on water bottling companies

1:56 pm on 25 July 2008

Fiji's Interim Cabinet has endorsed an agreement struck earlier between the interim attorney general and the country's water bottling companies to repeal a tax.

On Wednesday, they agreed to drop a newly established a 20 cents per litre tax on bottled water, but to discuss the introduction of a levy.

Earlier that day, the water companies filed a lawsuit against the tax and shut down all operations, saying they couldn't afford to pay it.

The interim finance minister, who's for the tax, was not present at Wednesday's talks.

Amid contradictory claims about the status of the tax, Radio Fiji's news director, Richard Naidu, says the interim cabinet held an extraordinary meeting to confirm that the tax has been dropped.

"What we have from the interim attorney general, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, is that cabinet has decided to endorse a decision to hold off, in his words, the 20 cents per litre excise and 20 cents per litre export tax on bottled water."

Richard Naidu says the size of the new compensation is yet to be determined.