HL Deb 09 July 1963 vol 251 cc1287-8

2.35 p.m.


My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

[The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government, with regard to the desire by Nyasaland for separation from the Central African Federation—

  1. (a) What is its share of the accumulated Federal Debt;
  2. (b) What is the estimated National Income in total and per capita of Nyasaland; and its pro rata debt apportionment per capita;
  3. (c) What responsibility, if any, for the total Federation Debt falls upon the United Kingdom by way of guarantee or otherwise.]


My Lords, the apportionment of the Federal Debt was referred by the Victoria Falls Conference to a General Committee which will make recommendations to Governments. The latest estimates of the national income which we have received from Nyasaland are in total and per capita £48.6 million and £16.5 respectively. It is not possible at this stage to estimate the pro rata debt apportionment per capita. Her Majesty's Government have guaranteed loans totalling £25.4 million which form part of the Federation's external debt.


My Lords, the reply appears to suggest that, on attaining independence, Nyasaland will hardly have a viable economy strictly on her own. In view of the several loans made in the past to help the economies of Colonies who have attained perhaps premature independence, would the noble and learned Lord be able to indicate whether there is as yet any commitment for loans to Nyasaland; and, further, if such loans are made, under what category and against what Vote would they fall?


My Lords, the effects of Nyasaland's withdrawal from the Federation have not yet been fully worked out in detail. It is not possible to say to what extent and over what period Nyasaland may need financial help to supplement her efforts, and Her Majesty's Government naturally cannot commit themselves in advance. Therefore, I do not think I am in a position to answer the last supplementary question the noble Lord put to me.


My Lords, would the noble and learned Lord not be able to indicate under what Votes loans in that category would fall?


My Lords, as the question of loans has not yet been resolved, I am not in a position to answer that question.

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