HC Deb 14 August 1916 vol 85 c1434W

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether his attention has been called to the evidence given by Mr. A. A. Cowan before the Committee on edible and oil-producing nuts and seeds to the effect that the volume of trade in palm kernels would suffer very seriously if the duty on spirits were made prohibitive or the sale of spirits prevented altogether; and what steps the Government are prepared to take to encourage the production of palm kernels by steps less questionable than the exchange of that article for gin and other strong spirits?


Yes, Sir. I have seen Mr. Cowan's evidence, which can only be regarded as giving his personal opinion, and is by no means shared by every merchant trading in West Africa. The Government does not propose to take any special steps in the matter, but I would call the hon. Member's attention to the fact that the duties on trade spirits in Nigeria have within the last few years been raised successively from 5s. 6d. to 6s. 3d., 7s. 6d., and now to 8s. 9d. per gallon.