The Union Parliament met twice during the first part of 1991. During its first session in Dodoma beginning on January 29th it discussed eight papers on One-Party Democracy and the role of the National Assembly in legislation and in development planning.
Two important new Bills were debated in a second session in April 1991. A Bill to allow for private banks in Tanzania was passed with amendments after it came under strong fire from certain members who felt that it went against the Constitution. They claimed that it did so because the Constitution prohibited the amassing of wealth in a few hands and also because it laid down that all the major means of production should be owned by the government. The Bill (which will be explained in more detail in our next issue) is the result of the work of the Presidential Commission of Enquiry into the Monetary and Banking System in Tanzania whose final report came out in July 1990 but was never published.
A new Cooperative Societies Act which proposes a four-tier structure was applauded by several Members of the Assembly but the Government was warned that the law alone could not help to solve all the problems facing the movement nor facilitate the attainment of the Acts objectives. Minister of Agriculture Anna Abdullah said that, among other things, the Act would take power away from the Registrar and invest decisions on Society members, a move meant to encourage democracy.