HC Deb 30 October 1919 vol 120 cc869-70
43. Brigadier-General Sir OWEN THOMAS

asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether the golden sovereign is still legal tender to the value of Rs. 15 in British East Africa; and, if so, whether the Government is prepared to make £l Treasury Notes legal tender for the like number of rupees or to consider the advisability of releasing gold for circulation in the Protectorate?

Colonel AMERY

The sovereign is still legal tender for Rs. 15 in British East Africa. I am not at present able to make any statement as to the introduction of Treasury Notes, and I fear that in existing circumstances there is no prospect of gold being available for the Protectorate.

44. Sir o. THOMAS

asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether, in view of the continued appreciation of the value of silver and of the great financial hardship imposed on plantation owners and East African settlers by reason of the present rate of exchange between this country and East Africa (now 50 per cent, above par rate), he will state whether a commission is at present sitting on this question; if so, of whom is it composed and when its report is likely to be available; and whether the case of East Africa is being considered independently from that of India, in view of the fact that the gold standard is universal in other parts of British Africa and that East Africa, owing to the anomaly of her rupee currency, is thereby placed at a great disadvantage compared with her sister colonies in Africa?

Colonel AMERY

The currency question in East Africa is and has for some time been the subject of discussion between the Colonial Office, the Treasury, and the Protectorate Government. The matter is being dealt with independently of the case of India which is under the consideration of a special commission. I am giving close consideration to the problem, and I trust that it may be possible to find a, satisfactory solution at an early date. I am well aware of the fact that the present position is most serious from the point of view of the plantation owners and settlers and of the general development of the country.