26 Nov 2010

Fiji Water row taking new turn with tax hike

4:25 pm on 26 November 2010

The Fiji interim government will increase the tax on exported bottled water to 15 Fiji cents from next year, reviving its abandoned bid of 2008 to tax the US company, Fiji Water.

The increase of the levy from 0.01 cent a litre was announced by the acting interim finance minister, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, when he presented the 2011 budget in Suva.

The announcement comes a week after the interim regime deported an American exective of Fiji Water, David Roth, for allegedly interfering in Fiji's domestic affairs.

The interim regime declined to clarify its decision.

Earlier this week, the information ministry said the issue was between David Roth and the government and not Fiji Water and the business.

In 2008, the interim government rescinded a 20 cent per litre tax after Fiji Water briefly shut down its plant and put 700 people out of work.

Meanwhile, the interim government says it expects the economy to grow by 1.3 percent next year after a year of stagnation.

It will increase value added tax from 12.5 to 15 percent from next year.