asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies how many vacancies for posts in Government service now exist in each of the West African colonies; how far the number of these vacancies is decreasing; and to what extent it is estimated that these vacancies will be filled during the next three years by Africans and British, respectively.
The following figures relate to posts in the higher grades of the Colonial Service and do not include posts which are filled by the Crown Agents for the Colonies or those filled by Colonial Governments from Colonial people. On the 31st May, 1948, there were 324 vacancies in Nigeria, 111 in the Gold Coast and 41 in Sierra Leone and the Gambia: total 476. On 31st December the vacancies were 324 in Nigeria, 125 in the Gold Coast and 46 in Sierra Leone and the Gambia: total 495. This shows an excess of 19, notwithstanding the fact that 230 vacancies were filled throughout West Africa during this period of seven months. I regret that it is not possible to forecast the vacancy position during the next three years, but it is certain that an increasing number of higher posts will be filled by Africans.
Does the Under-Secretary appreciate that meantime many of these key posts have been vacant for some time and that unless they are filled Nigerian development is likely to be held up.
I appreciate that, and we are doing all we can to fill them.