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The Egyptian Debt—Mr Cave's Report—Question

Volume 229: debated on Friday 12 May 1876

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asked the right honourable Member for Shoreham, Whether his attention has been drawn to a discrepancy of £16,000,000, between the Estimate as to the Khedive's indebtedness in his own Report and that given in the Khedive's Decree of May 2, for a proposed unification of his liabilities; and, whether he has any reason to apprehend that he was misled when he put at £75,000,000 the whole indebtedness of the Khedive?

Yes, Sir, my attention has been called to this apparent discrepancy, but the hon. Member does not state the case quite accurately. If he will refer to my Report he will see that the amount of £75,000,000 does not include three loans nearly paid off, amounting altogether to £5,000,000. The difference is thus reduced to £11,000,000. He will also see that I estimated the cost of conversion of the Debt, according to my own plan, at £2,000,000; but I calculate that the cost of conversion under the new scheme will be £7,000,000, by far the larger portion of which is given in the form of a bonus to the holders of Treasury bonds—for the purpose, I suppose, of floating the Debt. This difference will account for another £5,000,000, leaving £6,000,000 to be accounted for. Now, if we take £3,000,000 or £4,000,000 as the excess over the Estimate for the Abyssinian War—which is, of course, merely conjectural—we shall still have between £2,000,000 and £3,000,000 unaccounted for; and I cannot tell without further information whether this is due to any error in the information given to me or whether it is due to increased expenditure since that information was given.