HC Deb 26 June 1928 vol 219 cc237-8W

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is aware that there is great and increasing importation of intoxicating liquors into the West African Dependencies, amounting, in the case of the Gold Coast, to 1,000 per cent. increase in 10 years, to the detriment of the natives; that the laxity of the permit system, among other causes, is blamed for this; and whether he will inquire into this state of affairs?


I am aware that, with the recovery of trade since the War and the increase in the prosperity of the people, the importation of alcoholic liquors has increased in the past ten years. The increase, however, does not amount to 1,000 per cent. in any case, but to rather less than 500 per cent. in the case of the Gold Coast, where there has been a large increase in the consumption of ale, beer and wines as distinct from spirits. As compared with pre-War years, the importations of liquor show a great decrease. The total importations of all kinds of liquor into the four West African Colonies amounted to 7,910,329 gallons in 1913, as compared with 5,351,551 in 1927. If spirits alone are considered, in 1913 over 7,000,000 gallons were imported, while in 1927 the total quantity was less than 2,000,000 gallons, showing that the chief increase, from under 1,000,000 gallons to over 3,000,000 gallons, has been in the shape of beverages of lower alcoholic content. Close attention is paid to the importation of spirits, and the situation is carefully watched by the Colonial Governments.