HC Deb 24 November 1959 vol 614 cc181-2
18. Mr. J. Hynd

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies how many Africans have left Nyasaland during the past year to seek work in other territories; how many have found employment outside Nyasaland; and what is the present scale of wages now offered for unskilled work in the townships and countryside, respectively, of Nyasaland.

Mr. Iain Macleod

Sixty-six thousand nine hundred, of whom 59,000 are known to have obtained employment. The minimum wages for unskilled adult labour, for an eight-hour day, are from 2s 1d. to 2s. 6d. in townships and 1s. 5d. in other areas.

Mr. Hynd

Does not the Minister consider that the low rates of wages are one of the main causes for so many of these Africans leaving the Territory, and cannot something be done to improve the conditions in Nyasaland?

Mr. Macleod

The rates are certainly low, although those I have given are minimum rates. But Nyasaland is primarily an agricultural country and for many years there has been the problem of a considerable surplus of manpower. Indeed, I think that this is one of the fundamental facts that confront us all in our examination of what should happen in Central Africa.

Mr. Wall

Is there not a strong case for voluntary transfer of population from the over-populated area of Nyasaland to the under-populated area of Northern Rhodesia?

Mr. Macleod

I suppose there might be, if it could be achieved voluntarily, but this position has maintained for a number of years. People have gone to the territories south of Nyasaland to obtain work, and have returned to Nyasaland.