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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Rotgut and Revenue: Fiscal Aspects of the Liquor Trade in Southern Nigeria, 1890-1919
Author:Olukoju, Ayodeji
Periodical:Itinerario: European Journal of Overseas History
Geographic terms:Nigeria
Great Britain
fiscal policy
alcoholic beverages
History and Exploration
Economics and Trade
Abstract:This article examines the dynamics of fiscal policy towards the liquor trade in early colonial Nigeria, covering the period 1890-1919. The thrust of the policy was the manipulation of tariffs - ostensibly to check the growth of the traffic and to discourage the importation of strong spirits. In reality, the intention was to extract maximum revenue from the trade. In the case of southern Nigeria, this policy resulted in the near-total dependence of the colonial fiscal system on revenue from this source, thus creating the prospect of a serious financial crisis in the event of an abrupt cessation of, or a significant decline in, its traffic. This fearful prospect became reality consequent upon a sharp decline in spirit imports after 1914. In considering the attempts to find a substitute source of revenue, the article also highlights the impact of this development on the colonial fiscal system, and, in particular, on the colonial subjects, who now had to bear more directly the financial burden of governance. The study demonstrates that colonial fiscal policy was motivated by expediency rather than any altruistic motives. Notes, ref.