Conseil de Gouvernement-
Général de l'AOF,
Procès-Verbaux des Séances (1931)
|Notes © 1999 by Jim Jones, Ph.D.|
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The commission covered several things at their August 29, 1931 meeting. They discussed a "Projet d'arréte des transports effectués sur le Thiès-Niger pour le compte des agents de ce chemin de fer" (proposal for a law to create a reduced railroad rate for employees of the government-owned portion of the railroad). The commission proposed a reduction in freight rates for personal belongings of agents of the railroad and their family. The intent is to curb abuses (apparently some people are transporting their goods for free in order to avoid the regular rates) and to improve conditions for others. The plan calls for a reduced rate up to 400 kilometers and a fixed rate beyond that so that agents working far from the coast are not penalized. The law passed on August 25, 1931.
The Council also discussed an "Arrêté instituant des dispositions provisoires pour le transport des militaires indigènes sur le chemin de fer Thiès au Niger" (law providing for reduced rates for the transport of African soliders by rail). The Gouverneur-Général had already passed this as an emergency decree on August 18, and this session ratified thee governor's action. African soldiers traveled for the old fourth class rail fare (other fares went up thirty-five percent), as long as they traveled in groups of 20 or more and used either fourth class passenger cars or freight cars without any special preparation. To qualify for the special rate, they had to request transport two days in advance from the Directeur de Chemins de Fer or the Chef de la Gare de départ. Outside of the area between Kayes and Koulikoro, where there were no fourth class rail cars, Africans soldiers who qualified for the special rate could use third class rail cars at the same price. Since this special rate was creeated to solve a temporary need for increased military transports "due à la situation sanitaire de la Côte d'Ivoire" (because of the health situation in Ivory Coast), it could be suspended at any time.
The Council also discussed a shipment of fifteen tons of diesel fuel (gaz oïl) supplied by the Compagnie du Niger Français (Agence Shell) to the Chemin de Fer Thiès au Niger that arrived late. The company was able to show that the railroad was at fault. Seventy-seven barrels of oil were delivered at Dakar on March 7, but they did not reach Thiès until March 25. The railroad tried to bill the company 419.40 francs but the governor reversed the penalty.
At this session, the governor's council discussed a late shipment of printed matter (imprimés divers concernant ce service) from the Société Auxiliaire Africaine to the Chemin de Fer de Thiès au Niger. They gave as excuses that they were in the process of enlarging their shop and that the railroad made a large number of urgent orders during the period of the contract. The Société Auxiliaire Africaine was excused from paying the penalty.
The council discussed a proposal to reduce railroad freight rates (Projet d'arrête portant réduction provisoire jusqu'au 31 Septembre 1932 sur le Chemin de Fer Thiès-Niger des tarifs voyageurs de la 3ème classe). The railroad's third class passenger service was losing business to fourth class and to automobile traffic, so the railroad administration wanted to lower the third class rate from 0.27 francs to 0.20 francs per kilometer for one-way tickets, and from 0.405 to 0.30 francs per kilometer for round-trip tickets. This proposal was passed by the council.
This document is more than 140 pages in length, so these notes are very skimpy.
(pp2-3) The representatives of the government of French Soudan were Lt. Gouverneur du Soudan Français Fousset, Vautier, membre délégué du Conseil d'Administration du Soudan Français, and Sadio Keita, membre délégué, non-citoyen Français, du Conseil d'Administration du Soudan Français.
(pp133-134) The Lt. Gouverneur du Soudan Français presented the following items for discussion. The French Soudan enacted several laws during the past year, including one governing the size of family allowances (October 30, 1930), a levy of personal income taxes on Africans and transients, a table of values for animals used to pay the zekkat (nomad tax), a law regulating the amount of daily prestations (forced labor), and a law modifying the tax on firearms. The last four laws were all enacted on November 25, 1931.
(pp134-135) The Lt. Gouverneur also described the financial hardships in French Soudan due to the world economic crisis. The colony's reserve account has about 7.5 million francs, which represents only about 1/10 of the annual budget. There were numerous business failures in the interior.
(p136) Bamako was not yet connected to Koulouba, Ségou and Sikasso by telegraph lines.
(p137) The fermes-école (farm schools) at Baguinda and Niénébalé reported excellent agricultural results in 1930.
(p140) Fermes-ecôles like Baguinda teach Africans to become French peasants and work their own land.
(p142) M. Vautier stated that railroad freight rates were 45% less in 1924 than they are at present in 1931. In 1924, handling costs in the station were 3.50 francs per ton, but in 1931, they are 13.50. All of this impeded business, and he asked for a 30% reduction in freight costs for shelled peanuts, arguing that shelled peanuts cost the railroad 50% less to haul than unprocessed peanuts.
(p144) The railroad refused to modify its rates.