Frank Bainimarama is giving Fiji Water the cold shoulder. The company announced yesterday it would pull out of Fiji unless it came to a satisfactory arrangement with the regime over the new 15 cent tax.
In a statement of his own the illegal prime minister says the regime remains "firmly committed to both international and local investment in Fiji but it Fiji Water no longer wants to operate in Fiji, it must inform the Director of Lands and Yaqara Pastoral Company Limited from whom Fiji Water has leased lands."
Bainimarama said that "as usual Fiji Water has adopted tactics that demonstrate that Fiji Water does not care about Fiji or Fijians. They have made statements about supposed instability in Fiji and know it is not true, yet do so because they simply do not want to pay the new taxes."
The illegal leader goes on to accuse Fiji Water of getting the better end of the deal.
He said that "Fiji Water has had a corporate tax holiday since its inception until only two years ago; it has paid less than a million dollars in total corporate tax and only in the past two years (2008 and 2009); it receives approximately $FJ 4-5 million in VAT refund annually given it is export- driven; despite being a premium boutique water product, it declares the selling price of a carton of water at $US4 when at the same time other relatively unknown brands from Fiji like Aqua Pacific declare their selling price to the US market at $US10 a carton; Fiji Water sells its water to a US sister company and therefore is engaged in transfer pricing. These are the facts pertaining to Fiji Water."
Bainimarama said that "the positive feedback from the recent Fiji-Australia, Australia-Fiji, NZ-Fiji and Fiji-NZ business councils meetings, the positive feedback on the Budget and the new investment inflows and interest is indicative of the affirmation of and confidence in Fiji and the Fijian economy by the private sector."
He added that if Fiji Water is no longer interested in Fiji then the Fijian Government, following cancellation of the leases, "will call for international tenders from credible and reputable private sector companies to extract this valuable resource."