HC Deb 22 October 1946 vol 427 cc357-8W
Mr. Dodds-Parker

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies to what extent the Government of the Seychelles have imported sugar from Portuguese East Africa and passed it to local retailers at a charge of Rs.58 per bag; whether he is aware that a permit to import sugar from the same source had previously been refused to a local inhabitant who was prepared to sell it to the retailers at Rs.38 per bag; and on what grounds the permit was refused.

Mr. Creech Jones

Sugar has been imported by the Government of the Seychelles from Portuguese East Africa, out of purchases made by the Ministry of Food. During July, August and September, 1946, such sugar was sold by the Government to wholesalers at a temporarily increased price of Rs.56 per hundred kilos, and the price to retailers was Rs.58. The increase was made after full consultation and agreement with representatives of the public and the Finance Committee of the Legislative Council. On 1st October, prices were reduced to Rs.46 and Rs.48 respectively The selling price of essential foodstuffs imported by the Government have been fixed so as to keep the retail prices of maize and rice at a minimum. To this end, sugar has been sold by the Government with a reasonable margin of profit. I am aware that an application by a private importer to import 500 bags from Portuguese East Africa was refused. The retail price at which it was proposed to sell the sugar was not stated in the application. The permit was refused because adequate supplies were already on order by the Seychelles Government.