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(Sierra Leone (Messrs Lever Brothers)

Volume 52: debated on Thursday 24 April 1913

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39.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will lay upon the Table of the House the correspondence between the Colonial Office and the Governor of Sierra Leone with reference to the applications of Messrs. Lever Brothers, Limited, for certain trading concessions and exclusive privileges in Sierra Leone?

The correspondence was confidential and of no special public interest. I am unwilling to depart from the practice of non-publication of confidential dispatches, but if there was anything like a general desire in the House for its publication I should not resist it.

40.

asked what is the present position with regard to the application of Messrs. Lever Brothers, Limited, for the grant of certain exclusive privileges for the erection of mills for the expression or extraction of oil from the pericarp of the palm fruit in respect of an area of approximately 310 square miles in the Gold Coast Colony?

The Palm Oil Ordinance is still under the consideration of the Legislative Council of the Gold Coast.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that it is nine months since the Palm Oil Ordinance was introduced, and can he explain why there has been so much delay. Has the Government suggested important amendments, or is there any special reason for delay?

I do not know of any special reason and important amendments alluded to have not been the cause.

41.

asked what is the present position with regard to the application of Messrs. Lever Brothers, Limited, for the grant of certain exclusive privileges for the erection of mills for the expression or extraction of oil from the pericarp of the palm fruit in respect of an area of approximately 310 square miles in Southern Nigeria; have agreements been made with the local chief obviating the necessity for legislative action; and has the expenditure of any definite sum by Messrs. Lever Brothers yet been agreed?

I have no further information on this subject, and no communication from Messrs. Lever Brothers in regard to it has been received at the Colonial Office subsequent to the published correspondence.

42.

asked what is the present position with regard to the application of Messrs. Lever Brothers, Limited, for the grant of certain exclusive privileges for the erection of mills for the expression or extraction of oil from the pericarp of the palm fruit in respect of an area of approximately 311 square miles in the Sierra Leone Protectorate at a rental of £100 a year; and what is the date within one year of which Messrs. Lever Brothers, Limited, are required to expend £15,000?

I have not yet heard from the Governor of Sierra Leone whether the instruments, of which drafts are printed in Cd. 6561, have yet been executed. A reference to them will show that the year runs from the date of execution.

In all other respects is the position exactly as it was when the correspondence was published?

44.

asked what is the present position with regard to the application of Messrs. W. B. MacIver and Company, with whom Messrs. Lever Brothers, Limited, are associated, for the grant of rights in connection with the palm oil industry in respect of an area in the Gold Coast Colony; have the applicants obtained a grant of rights and wayleaves from the natives; and is this a necessary preliminary to the submission of a formal application to the Governor?

No correspondence other than that printed in Cd. 6561 has passed with Messrs. MacIver and Company. I have no information as to any action they may have taken in the Colony. The reply to the last part of the question is in the affirmative.

56.

asked whether the promise made to Messrs. Lever Brothers, Limited, in the Colonial Office letter of 18th December of a licence to construct railways in Sierra Leone has been superseded or still holds good, and for how long it will be kept open notwithstanding the failure of Messrs. Lever Brothers, Limited, to make any application for a licence under the Proprietary Railways Ordinance of Sierra Leone, 1909; and does this represent the only railway or tramway privilege proposed to be given in West Africa to that firm?

Under the Proprietary Railways Ordinance, 1909, of Sierra Leone, it is open to Messrs. Lever Brothers, Limited, or any other firm to apply at any time for a licence to construct a railway. I have not been informed of any such application, but the decision thereon would depend on the circumstances of the case.

Does the right hon. Gentleman tell me that it is proposed to take power to grant exclusive railway privileges in the legislation of the Gold Coast Colony?

If the hon. Gentleman will refer to the Paper already issued to Parliament, he will find that that is not the case.