According to FLP leader Mahendra Chaudhry, "An interesting feature of the Budget is the excise duty of 15 cents per litre imposed on bottled water."
This tax applies to those operators who extract in excess of 3 million litres of water per month. There is only one such operator ie. FIJI WATER, which falls in this category.
It will be recalled that in 2008 when a similar tax of 20 cents per litre was imposed on all exporters of bottled water, it was quickly reversed at the instance of some influential and powerful lobbyists acting for the water companies.
This intervention resulted in the excise duty being reduced from 20 cents to the preposterous rate of 0.001 cents per litre!
“I wonder what process of enlightenment has made those responsible in the regime to now strike a somewhat unrealistic rate of 15 cents per litre. And why is it confined to only one operator? Where is equity?
“I believe we have gone a full circle on this one."