Japanese Imports, Nigeria
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies on what basis licences are granted to the Japanese to enable them to import textile fabrics into Lagos.
The Nigerian authorities have been issuing licences to import Japanese textiles to meet the territory's essential needs. Import policy is now, however, being reviewed in the light of the balance of payments of the sterling area and the experience of the working of the Payments Agreement between the sterling area and Japan. The possibilities of increasing the exports of Lancashire textiles to the Colonies are also being urgently examined.
While thanking my right hon. Friend for his answer, may I ask him to bear in mind that the Japanese are copying British designs in textiles and exporting to West Africa, and that the advice given by his right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade is that the industry of Lancashire should take legal action in West Africa? Will my right hon. Friend deal with this matter at the source in West Africa, because otherwise such action is very expensive and often does not work at all?
I am willing to consult with the President of the Board of Trade about the appropriate measures.
Gold Coast Civil Service (Pay)
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what steps he is taking in respect of the claims of the white civil servants in the Gold Coast for increases in salary to meet the rising cost of living and for the retention of their expatriate allowances.
The Commission appointed by my predecessor in September, 1950, to make recommendations on certain questions including the salaries of the Gold Coast Civil Service reported last August. My predecessor commended this report to the Gold Coast Government, and it has since been under consideration by a Select Committee of the Gold Coast Legislative Assembly. The Assembly adopted the Select Committee's recommendations on 23rd April and the new improved salaries are being introduced as from 1st April, 1952.The new scales provide for increases over existing salaries, plus present cost of living allowance, and are generally higher than those recommended by the original Commission in order to take some account of the further rise in the cost of living which has occurred since the Commission reported. I have not yet been able to consider the Select Committee's Report in full, but I understand that overseas pay has been retained except for posts at the highest levels where basic and overseas pay have been consolidated.
Sierra Leone (Regent Chief)
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will appoint a committee of inquiry to investigate the situation within the Small Bo tribal authority of Sierra Leone since S. Kata was appointed Regent Chief in view of the opposition to his appointment.
As I told the hon. Member in reply to a letter which he sent to me on 3rd April, the power to make such an appointment is vested in the Governor, who has informed me that the great majority both of the inhabitants and of the members of the tribal authority are not opposed to the Acting Chief, and that conditions generally are peaceful. In considering whether or not a commission of inquiry should be appointed, the Governor will be guided by the advice of the Executive Council, in which there is a majority of African members.
May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he is aware that, according to the information I passed to him at least three weeks ago, the taxing authorities are having difficulty in finding males in this territory because they have all gone to other territories as a protest against the present arrangements? Will he again ask the Governor to look into this matter?
The Governor is now considering whether a commission of inquiry is appropriate.