HC Deb 07 December 1949 vol 470 cc1857-8
21. Mr. Keeling

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what is the expenditure up to date on railways and ports serving the groundnut areas in Tanganyika; and what proportion of this has been or will be paid for by the East African Railways and Harbours Administration.

Mr. Rees-Williams

The figure for expenditure to date on the new port and railway in the Southern Province is not available. The estimated cost is £4,650,000. The figure for the general improvements to the Central Line Railway and the port of Dar-es-Salaam is £ 2½ million. The answer to the second part of the Question is that the whole capital cost of these works will ultimately be met by the East African Railways and Harbour Administration.

Mr. Keeling

Is the Under-Secretary aware that, according to "The Times" Nairobi correspondent, the East African Railways and Harbours Adminstration are hurt by the claim of the Minister of Food the other day that among the achievements of the Overseas Food Corporation was the making of these ports and harbours?

Mr. Rees-Williams

I think there is some misunderstanding here. The Overseas Food Corporation are acting as agents of the Administration to supervise construction, and eventually it is intended that their expenses shall be refunded to them by the harbour and railway board, so they are in fact expending a considerable amount of money.

Mr. Oliver Stanley

Is it a fact that the O.F.C. have in return to guarantee a minimum amount of traffic every year, and, if so, can the hon. Gentleman tell us the minimum amount?

Mr. Rees-Williams

I am not quite sure whether the right hon. Gentleman is alluding to the Central Line or the Southern Line. Perhaps he will put the question down.

Mr. Walter Fletcher

Is the hon. Gentleman satisfied that in the Mikidani Harbour scheme big capital expenditure is justified before the 20,000 acre pilot scheme has shown any results at all?

Mr. Rees-Williams

The hon. Gentleman knows that it is not only the groundnut scheme which will be served by this port and that it is in fact essential to have a good port in the southern area in order to develop the whole of that region of Tanganyika.