HC Deb 07 July 1937 vol 326 cc327-8
17. Mr. de Rothschild

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies the provisions under which the British Phosphates Commissioners carry out the working of the phosphate deposits on Ocean Island; the annual profits of the Commissioners over the past three years; and the amount of any contributions made by the Commissioners to the revenues of the colony or for purposes of native welfare?

Mr. Ormsby-Gore

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

Following is the answer:

The operations of the British Phosphate Commissioners on Ocean Island are governed by Ordinance No. 4 of 1928 of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands Colony, and by a licence granted originally to the Pacific Phosphate Company, Limited. As regards the second part of the question, the principles governing the sale of phosphates from the mandated territory of Nauru apply also in the case of Ocean Island, and for the most part the output is sold on a cost price basis, as provided for in the agreement scheduled to the Nauru Island Agreement Act, 1920, to which I would refer the hon. Member. In respect of Ocean Island the Commissioners contribute a royalty of 6d. a ton to the revenues of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands Colony, and in the three years 1933 to 1936 the amounts received were £4,780, £5,174, and £6,547. Up to the end of the year 1933–34 the Commissioners paid local taxes, customs duties, etc., in the normal way, but I have not figures to show what sum was so paid in that year. Since then, under Ordinance No. 3 of 1934, the Commissioners have been exempted from such payments and in lieu have contributed to revenue sums representing the difference between Government's other revenue and expenditure; the sums so contributed amounted to £17,342 in 1934–35, and £14,629 in 1935–36. In addition, the Commissioners pay further royalties at the rate of 10½d. a ton, the proceeds of which are held on trust by the Government for the benefit of the local natives; during the years 1933 to 1936 these payments amounted to £6,772, £7,329. and £9,416.

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