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Sierra Leone (Import And Export Licences)

Volume 389: debated on Wednesday 5 May 1943

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asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies, whether he is aware of the complaints in Sierra Leone of discrimination against Africans in the granting of permits by the director of supplies for the importation of various commodities and the export of certain African products and that adequate shipping space is granted to Europeans but refused to African traders; and whether he will inquire into these grievances with a view to remedy?

A complaint of this nature has already been brought to my notice, but on investigation was found to be without foundation. Import licences are allotted by the Sierra Leone Government as nearly as possible in proportion to the applicant's pre-war imports, and similar arrangements apply to exports. African traders who have secured import licences place their orders with export houses in the United Kingdom, and ship- ping space is allotted to these exporters in accordance with arrangements operated by the shippers themselves. If, however, the hon. Member would care to send me details of any specific complaints, I should be glad to have them investigated.

Is not the Minister aware that the Press is replete with cases of this kind? I shall be very happy to send the Minister details.