HC Deb 06 February 1908 vol 183 cc1070-1

I beg to ask the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether it was by this Government, and, if so, when, that the caravan and canoe taxes were abolished in Northern Nigeria and replaced by a land value tax; and whether he will inquire as to the desirability of making a similar change in taxation in the northern territories of the Gold Coast.


The decision to abolish the caravan tolls and the canoe licences in Northern Nigeria was taken by Lord Elgin, and received the concurrence of the Treasury in January, 1907. It is not the case that these forms of taxation were "replaced" by a land value tax, as the Land Revenue Proclamation was issued in 1904. The nature of this tax is fully explained in Sir F. Lugard's Memorandum laid before Parliament last year [Cd. 3309]. It is not merely a tax on land values, but includes, with necessary modifications, various forms of tribute formerly exacted by the native emirs. These authorities receive a proportion of the amount thus raised, sometimes a half, or even more; and this is their main, if not their sole source of revenue. The introduction of a similar system in the northern territories of the Gold Coast is not desirable. It would be difficult, if not impracticable, to introduce it. IT Northern Nigeria, it was merely a re organisation of a system to which the people had been accustomed long before the country passed under British control.