§ MR. H. S. CROSS
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether Her Majesty's Government, before authorising increases of tariff on the part of the Royal Niger Company, Chartered and Limited, have communicated with merchants or Chambers of Commerce interested in the trade of the district; and, if not, by what means has it been ascertained that these increases ought to be approved?
THE UNDER SECRETAEY OF STATE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS (Mr. J. W. LOWTHER,) Cumberland, Penrith
The only increase of tariff authorised has been an increase in the duty on palm oil from one penny to twopence per old wine gallon. By the Charter, the company is entitled to levy revenue solely for the purpose of defraying the expenses of Government, including the administration of justice, the maintenance of order, and the performance of Treaty obligations. The tariff is, therefore, regulated according to administrative expenditure. In 1890 it was ascertained, by an exhaustive local investigation, conducted by a Special Commissioner, that the expenditure was in excess of the revenue. The accounts will be again examined during the current year.