HC Deb 04 July 1923 vol 166 cc455-7W

asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether, in view of Colonel Hammond's Report that the railways in East Africa have not been run as a business concern, he will in future ensure that all new railway construction is treated as a business concern and thrown open to private tender to secure cheap, effective, and businesslike construction?


Colonel Hammond's report did not deal with the manner of construction. It is expected that the appointment of a new general manager, with long experience of South African railways, will result not only in the working of the Uganda Railway being put on sound lines, but also in the efficient and economical construction of new lines which my hon. Friend and I consider so important.


asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether any attempt is being made to secure the opinion of the European community in East Africa as to the desirability or otherwise of building new lines departmentally rather than by private enterprise; and, if not, whether, in view of the heavy burden upon the country of the Uganda Railway which was built by the State, he will take steps to ascertain this opinion before any new lines are constructed departmentally?


The decision in favour of departmental construction of the new railways now contemplated in Kenya has been taken on the strong advice of the Governor and his Executive Council, including the two European unofficial members. I am confident that the greater economy which the Governor foresees under departmental construction would command the hearty support of the European community, and I see no reason for taking special steps to obtain their views.


asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies the number of officials connected with State railway work in any of the West African Colonies and the aggregate salaries paid to them now and in 1914?


Full details of the staff employed on railway construction and railway capital works in Nigeria are not available, but as regards the Nigeria Railway open lines, the figures given in the annual Estimates, in regard to European officers, are as follows:

  • 1914:
    • Number of officers provided for, 348.
    • Provision made for salaries, £106,179.
  • 1923–24:
    • Number of officers provided for, 416.
    • Provision made for salaries, £226,759.

These figures do not take into account the subsidiary services of the railway, such as the Motor Transport Service

Full particulars, as regards the number of natives employed on the Nigerian Railway open lines, and of their salaries, are not available. In 1923 the railway includes 290 more miles of open lines than in 1914.

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