HC Deb 01 July 1966 vol 730 cc352-3W
Mr. Lee Williams

asked the Minister of Overseas Development if he will make a statement on the recent financial talks with the Government of Basutoland.

Mr. Greenwood

In the light of the decision that Basutoland shall become independent on the 4th October, 1966, the British and Basutoland Governments have discussed together the question of Basutoland's future aid requirements. The British Government have assured the Basutoland Government of their willingness to continue to assist Basutoland to meet its needs in the fields of budgetary and development finance after Independence. The Basutoland Government wish to give further consideration to their development priorities in the light of the resources likely to be available to them, and the two Governments have agreed to hold further detailed discussions in a few months time on the scale and nature of the contribution which Britain can make after March, 1967. In the meantime, in order to assist the Basutoland Government to meet its immediate needs, the British Government has agreed to make available between the date of Independence and the 31st March, 1967, the unspent balance of Basutoland's current allocation of Colonial Development and Welfare funds, together with the unissued balance of the budgetary grant already agreed for the financial year 1966–67. The necessary Supplementary Estimates will be laid before Parliament in due course. In the meantime, advances will be sought from the Civil Contingencies Fund if necessary.

During the current talks the British Government have agreed to make a grant of £50,000 for the next stage of the preparatory work on the Oxbow Scheme, and have offered an interest-free loan of £123,000 in connection with electricity development. British technical assistance, including the Overseas Service Aid Scheme, will continue to be available to Basutoland without interruption after Independence; and the British Government are also making loans totalling £402,500 to cover Basutoland's share of the payments to officers of H.M.O.C.S. under the General Compensation Scheme.

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