§ MR. BOLAND (Kerry, S.)
To ask the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether in view of the fact that in the balance-sheet issued by the Maltese Government on 29th February, the investments in Imperial and Colonial Funds were stated to amount to £709,999 10s. 6d., although the nominal value of these securities on that day was only £682,449 9s. 4d., and the market value was only £650,476 19s. 6d., involving a deficit of £35,605 instead of a surplus of £22,939 19s. 10fd., he will order the publication of a new balance-sheet.
(Answered by Mr. Secretary Lyttelton.) The difference between the cost price of the investments and their market value on the 29th of February last was £59,522 11s. To meet this deficit the Malta Government had standing to its† See page 471.1402 credit the reserve funds amounting; respectively to £13,207 and £10,710, of which the hon. Member has taken account in referring to the deficit as amounting to £35,605. But it appears from the statements which accompanied and were published with the balance-shest of the 29th of February last that the Government had also to its credit on that date the nett surplus brought forward from the year 1902–3, viz., £19,416, and also the excess of the revenue for the period to the 29th of February, 1901, viz., £411,664 over the expenditure for that period, viz., £363,279, i.e., £48 385. These two items together amount to £67,801, and therefore if the Colonial Government had had to sell all its securities on that date the Colonial Government would have been able to meet all its liabilities, retaining a surplus of £22,196, and there would not have been a deficit. The statement of the 29th of February, to which the hon. Member refers, was merely a monthly Return and was not a statement showing the position of the Colony for the financial year, which in the ordinary course would only be published at some period subsequent to the close of the financial year, viz., the 31st of March. The annual statement would, in accordance with paragraph 164 (c) of the Financial Instructions, be accompanied by a detailed statement of investments showing the description and amount of stock held, the actual price paid for its purchase, and its market value. So far as I am aware no annual statement has yet been published in respect of the year 1903–4, but the Governor will be asked when its publication may be expected.