HC Deb 14 November 1934 vol 293 cc1942-3

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether, in any new legislation that is contemplated in Kenya Colony dealing with native taxation, he will recommend that alternative methods of taxation to the Hut Tax should be sought; and whether, in the meantime, in order to prevent uncertainty among the natives and divergence of practice by different district commissioners, he will cause an ordinance to be passed with the object of making it clear that widows are not liable for Hut Tax?


As the answer is rather long I will, with the hon. Member's permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Fllowing is the answer:

The proposals for an alternative system of native taxation suggested by Lord Moyne have been considered by two successive conferences of the East African Governors and by a special Conference of Advisers on Native Affairs. The view taken was that, however desirable as an ultimate object, these alternative proposals cannot be successfully introduced until very considerable development has taken place in native systems of agriculture, and land tenure. In forwarding a new Native Hut and Poll Tax Ordinance, the Governor of Kenya has recently assured me that there is nothing in it which will render more difficult the adoption of Lord Moyne's proposal for a cultivation tax, but he does not think that the time has yet come for the introduction of any drastic alteration of the established system.

As regards the latter part of the question the new Ordinance to which I have referred, which is mainly a consolidation of existing Ordinances and rules, provides for the levying of Hut Tax from women. The Governor informs me that this is intended to meet the case of women, the numbers of whom are increasing, who are in an independent position as householders and who make a sufficient income to justify their payment of Hut Tax The Ordinance at the same time confers wider powers of exemption on the district officers, and this provision will be used to ensure that relief is given in all proper cases.