§ Sir W. Smithers
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will make a statement on the financial situation in Grenada, British West Indies; and why it was impossible there to collect the 20 per cent. export duty on 30,000 bags of nutmegs, thereby causing a Budget deficit of 1½ million dollars.
Mr. Creech Jones
On 1st January, 1948, Grenada had a surplus balance of 1,173,004 dollars and a further surplus of 3,767 dollars was estimated to accrue during that year. Expenditure from surplus balances of 540,000 dollars was approved pending decisions as to the allocation of charges under the Colony's Ten Year Plan.
The 1949 draft estimates, which have not yet been submitted to me for approval, provide for an excess estimated expenditure over estimated revenue of 1,243,494 dollars. They contain provision for expenditure of 557,440 dollars on schemes contained in the Ten Year Plan, which it is hoped to finance from proceeds of a loan to be raised in due course, and certain other items of expenditure amounting to 189,760 dollars which have been reserved for release only 185W if the financial situation improves. The net estimated deficit on the year's working for 1949 is, therefore, 496,294 dollars. The above figures are in West Indian dollars (4.8 dollars=£1) which is linked with sterling.
Prices for the Colony's principal exports, cocoa and nutmegs, have declined, owing principally to the revival of the Indonesian trade. I have no information on the loss of export duty revenue in 1948 due to the shortfall of nutmeg exports, but duty will be recovered in 1949 if the nutmegs are sold this year.