asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether in the African Dependencies, before the policy of Export Duties was embarked upon, the natives were consulted in any way as to the possible effect of the duties upon production?
In the West African Colonies the export duties were imposed by laws which, like other laws, had to receive the consent of the Legislative Council of the colony, on which the natives were duly represented. An export duty on ground nuts has been in forces in the Gambia since 1899. As regards East Africa, export duties were already in force when the administration was transferred from the Foreign Office to the Colonial Office, and I have no information as to whether natives were consulted. While the natives of Uganda were not consulted before the Cotton Export Tax was imposed at the beginning of 1919, the tax was directly designed to raise revenue for developing the cotton-growing districts and thus bring benefit to the natives. As has been observed in Committee of Supply, the imposition of the tax, coupled with a miscellaneous increase in direct taxation, was followed by a very large increase in production. The tax is now under reconsideration with a view to its reduction by one-third.