HC Deb 29 November 1926 vol 200 cc837-8
64. Mr. MAXTON (for Mr. JOHNSTON)

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is aware that the Sudan Plantations Syndicate, Limited, has applied for an extension of the period of their concession; whether the conditions upon which the Government of the Sudan has agreed to extend the period of the concession include restrictions of dividend and guarantees on behalf of the natives; and if, considering the financial benefits accruing to this company as a result of British credit guarantees, he will afford the House an opportunity of discussing any fresh agreement to be made with this company?


Yes, Sir. The arrangement for the division of the proceeds of the sale of cotton as between the Syndicate on the one hand and the Government of the Sudan on the other has been modified to the advantage of the latter. The interests of the cultivators, who receive 40 per cent. of the proceeds of the cotton and the whole of the other crops, were already fully protected and are equally protected under the new arrangement. The Syndicate has raised and will raise the necessary capital for its undertaking in the open market, and has derived no financial benefit from British credit except indirectly in so far as a loan of £400,000 was made by the Sudan Government to the Syndicate out of the guaranteed loan for the construction of works which are to be taken over by the Government at the end of the concession, when the loan would have been repayable. Under the new arrangement the loan will be repayable at six months' notice.

In face of the difficulties which are inherent in the development of a new country, I am satisfied that the Sudan Government, as trustees for the interests of their people, have succeeded after protracted negotiations in making satisfactory terms on their behalf, as I think this House will agree when it sees the terms.


Is it not a fact that the enterprise of this Company has conferred immense benefits on the population of the Sudan?


Is it not also a fact that they have been making enormous profits and that they expect to make even greater profits?


Why not?


For what length of time will the new arrangements last?


I must have notice of that question.

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