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Kano Aerodrome (Currency)

Volume 464: debated on Tuesday 3 May 1949

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asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware of the irritation caused to air passengers at Kano aerodrome by the refusal of the authorities to permit payment for refreshments in sterling or South African pounds; and if he will issue instructions that such payments can now be made.

The question of what currency will be accepted in payment for refreshments at the Kano aerodrome is, of course, a matter for the Nigerian authorities. So far as United Kingdom residents are concerned, however, I am not aware that any inconvenience is caused by the present arrangements. United Kingdom residents travelling by air can pay for refreshments at the aerodrome in sterling area travellers' cheques, West African pounds or, if they are travelling by B.O.A.C., B.O.A.C. currency coupons purchased for sterling which are freely exchangeable into local currency at the aerodrome. I cannot agree to United Kindom sterling notes being used for such payments. Nor can I, of course, issue any instructions about South African pounds: this is a matter for the South African Government.

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he is aware that at Kano the least demonination of sterling one can change is £1 and that, even with the best will in the world, one cannot spend £1 on tea? One is, therefore, left with a large amount of Nigerian currency which is unchangeable anywhere else. At every other stop by any air service it is possible to exchange sterling or South African pounds. Surely, therefore, it would be only fair to everybody concerned to allow the same thing at Kano.

This is a matter for the Nigerian authorities. Nevertheless, I would remind the hon. Member that it is possible for travellers going out there to take Nigerian currency and to have the allowance split here, before they go, by arrangement with their bank.

Is the right hon. Gentleman seriously suggesting that before they leave on a trip of this kind people ought to provide themselves with 2s. 6d. in Nigerian currency in case they want tea at Kano?

No, but what I am suggesting is that this House should back the Government in order to see to it that we prevent currency from being freely exchanged abroad in defiance of the exchange control which exists.

Could the irritation possibly be removed by the free issue of a draught of groundnut oil easily obtainable at Kano?