More changes are heralded after the ruckus over Fiji Water, with the illegal regime now wanting to ping other overseas companies leasing land in Fiji.
Thanks to the hurried u-turn by the American company, the regime is looking to review what major companies are paying in leases.
Illegal leader Frank Bainimarama is quoted in Fiji Broadcasting Corporation today as saying many companies in Fiji are making huge profits but paying little for the privilege of doing business in the country.
Fiji Water was used as an example, with him saying the company is paying "$11,000 in lease, an increase of just $5,000 since 1995, when it used to pay $6,000."
He made it clear the regime would review lease agreements and move to improve the situation.
Payments for the leases are made with landowners from what we know, so it's clear the regime will be setting new edicts regardless of existing deals with landowners.
The looming review of leases come as the claim Fiji Water is engaging in transfer pricing continues to raise questions.
The regime says the company is selling the water at an artificially low price by on-selling it to its sister company.
According to some, the claim is baseless because marketing costs are huge, especially for water in North America, where a very pure, safe product is available free from the taps. As one reader says "The only thing harder would be to sell ice to Eskimos."
But the regime must either already have the proof or should front up with it. Is Golden Manufacturers Limited understating the cost of the cartons? Are the plastic bottles bought from a related party at an artificially low price? How is the transfer pricing being done?
This would be a routine job for FIRCA, who could use well-established international guidelines for assessing 'real' costs. If Fiji Water didn't meet the guidelines they could take them to court and order payment of higher taxes.
It's probably what that icon of integrity, Mahendra Chaudhry, was doing before the regime's case was stalled, no doubt when it was realised that FIRCA couldn't establish the facts.
Ironically, Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum's too clever work with the Commerce Commission to control prices of food probably means the regime has set very low benchmarks for business costs in Fiji.
Footnote: Statements about Fiji Water and the budget since Monday have all been attributed to Dictator Bainimarama but there have been no current pictures from what we've seen accompanying his comments. A short time ago someone posted this comment on his Facebook: "Bainimarama had a stroke? Thats what the coconut wireless is saying around my neighbourhood."