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Association says 20-cent tax will kill industry

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, July 23, 2008) – Fiji’s bottled water industry has filed a law suit over a new tax requiring it to pay twenty cents on every litre of water sold.

The interim government decided to introduce the tax saying the industry had not been paying royalty and excise taxes for the extraction of the water.

The companies however say it puts the industry, and more than 700 jobs, in jeopardy.

They had objected to the Revenues and Customs Authority, expecting the matter to be discussed in the interim cabinet.

But a spokesperson for the bottlers, Jay Dayal, says this is yet to happen so they have decided to take legal action.

"The bottlers have exhausted their patience and we have filed our action in court seeking a judicial review over the government’s decision to impose the 20 cents per litre tax to get the tax repealed, because we are not in a position to pay these taxes. It will kill the viability of the bottling business."

Jay Dayal says all production is still on hold.

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