The Late Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere


MR SPEAKER: Honourable Members of Parliament


THIS is the first time I have spoken to this Parliament - although I have on a number of occasions spoken to members at party' and other meetings. It will probably also be the last time before the General Election later this year. In the past five years many changes have been made in our country. Candidates in the coming elections will be seeking votes from many new voters and from a different political and economic society than that which existed in 1970. Many of the changes and achievements in Tanzania have stemmed from the work of this Parliament.


One hundred and forty-nine Acts of Parliament had been passed by this House, and signed by me, even before the current session began. They were varied in content, and in complexity. They included very fundamental changes to the constitution - a matter to which I shall return - as well as measures to extend public ownership and control over the economy of this country. In addition, other laws were made which will have a long term impact on the nature of our social and cultural life in Tanzania. I am referring there to things like the Marriage Act, which although it has some faults, should in the course of time do a great deal to improve the status and the position of women in our society.


But as Members of Parliament know very well, the work of a 'Mbunge' is not confined to public debate or Parliamentary questions. There are Parliamentary Committee meetings, and meetings of the National Planning Commission, as well as regional and district development committees, which all have to be attended. 'Wabunge' have also to be in constant contact with their constituencies, and available to help and advise the people who live there. For it is an important part of an MP's job to be in touch with problems and opportunities in his or her own area. Only by this can he or she help the party and the Government -- whether at local or national level -- to solve problems before they become crises, and to convert potential development of the people into actual development. My impression is that many Members have taken these less publicised functions very seriously. I would add that all MPs, whether or not they have spoken a great deal in Parliament or asked numerous questions, have in my opinion been very good Members of this House.



What I am saying is that MPs have good grounds for pride in the work they have collectively done during the past five years. Yet it would be idle to pretend that this means that Tanzania is now in a strong position economically, or that we have achieved as much as we hoped to do. For despite everything which has been done - and it is a good deal - Tanzania is now enmeshed in very severe economic difficulties. Apart from, any mistakes which we may have made, and which I shall be referring to, there are three major reasons for our present difficulties. They are, the rapid inflation rate in the developed world, the sudden and large increase in the price of oil and petroleum products, and the drought which caused widespread crop failures and animals deaths in our country.


These three factors have all been explained, and their effects discussed, during this Budget Session of Parliament. I do not propose to repeat the explanations which have been given to Parliament and to the country by myself and the ministers during the last sixteen months. But I do want to emphasise the seriousness of the situation.


Our population has increased by about two million people since 1970; we now [in 1975] have over 15 million people. That means that the number of people who need to eat, have clothes, houses, schools, dispensaries, etc, is increasing by about 2.7 per cent a year. In other words, if we are just to maintain our existing standard of living - without any improvement at all we have to increase our production of goods and services by at least 2.7 per cent a year. If we produce only the same amount one year as we did the year previously' then either our average standard of living goes down by 2.7 per cent or up to 400,000 people starve to death, go naked, and so on.


But a 2.7 per cent increase in the production of wealth and services only leaves us where we were. If you are a herdsman with five people in family, and five goats, your wealth works out at one goat per person. If the numbers are increased by one kid and one child every year, you will still have one goat per' person - no better than before. Our nation will be in the same position if we fail to increase our production of wealth by more than 2.7 per cent a "year. And that is not acceptable. We must make the efforts necessary to improve our lives year by year. That has been the objective of all our economic plans, and at all our people's activity since independence.


That we have made great advances since 1970 is undeniable. But because of the combination of the three adverse economic factors I have already mentioned - none of which were within our control - we were not able to maintain our rate of expansion last year. Indeed, our National Income in 1974 increased less than the population increased - which means that the amount of wealth available per person actually decreased during that period. The family increased to six, but the number of goats remained at five! It is true that last year we did get special and new development assistance from a number of friendly countries and organisations. Indeed, without it many, of our development projects would have come to a halt. So I would like to use this opportunity to join with the Minister for Finance in thanking these organisations and friendly countries for their help. But we cannot depend upon this continuing indefinitely. Nor should we want it to do so. Our aim is self-reliance. We have to get to a position where we can withstand adverse external economic changes without disaster, and where we have sufficient reserves of food, raw materials, and foreign exchange, to carry us over bad harvests or unavoidable shortages of particular essential commodities.



In other words, we have to make a very great effort to increase production in all sectors in the coming year. We have to use our existing resources of men, of skill and of our factors of 'production, to the utmost. We must use our land more extensively, and more intensively - getting more production from each hectare. We have to use our machines 24 hours of the day - which means that we have to produce more of the raw materials our factories use, and more of the electricity and water they need to run on. But the truth is that even if we do this we shall still not be able; to undertake all the new investment in services and, extra productive capacity which we know to be urgent. Indeed, we shall probably continue to have problems about the supply of raw materials and essential services for our existing factories and farms. For the purchase of raw materials from abroad, the expansion of our own productive capacity, and even an increase in communal social services, all take foreign exchange and money. And we are desperately short of foreign exchange we have very little money for development.


Once again we have to remind ourselves that "to plan is to choose."


Through their discussions in the National Planning Commission, Members of Parliament should themselves now be more aware of this problem of allocating very limited resources of men and money among unlimited needs. It is, on a national scale, a problem which almost every Tanzanian family has to face. When a farmer produces only 10 bags of maize a year -- for whatever reason -- he has to make very difficult decisions about which family needs he can meet. First they have to eat until the next harvest. And seeds must be put aside for the next planting -- only a fool eats his seed.



Then, if there is anything at all left the farmer will sell a little in order to buy clothes and other necessary things including a 'jembe' with which to cultivate next season. If his child is growing up it will be necessary for him to' buy an extra 'jembe' this year compared with the previous year. The farmer's problem is very great, just because of his existing poverty. So it is with a poor country like Tanzania.


We do not produce enough wealth to do all the things which need to be done. We have to make almost arbitrary decisions to do one thing rather than another, when all the things which require doing are urgent, and when there are many other good things we would like to do. We are not in the position of choosing between luxuries and essentials. We are still so poor that we are choosing between the essentials themselves, and therefore leaving some of them undone.


In our situation, all that we can do is make sure that we use whatever resources we do have to good effect. We have to strive to increase our output by using properly what we already have. And if we do achieve an increase in production we have to resist the temptation to spend it all on personal consumption. First we have to put aside enough to buy the equivalent of the farmer's seed and replacement" jembe." Second, we must use some of the wealth to increase the availability of things like water, schools, hospitals and so on. And it is essential also that we should devote some of our increases in wealth to investment in new production capacity -- that is buying machines for new factories, producing more electricity etc., because the number of Tanzanians able to work in the fields or in factories is increasing every year.


In fact, of course, the expansion of public services itself depends upon investment in new production facilities. Schools need books, which require investment in paper production and printing presses; hospitals require water and drugs; expanded agricultural output requires more factories and workshops making tools or fertlliser which in turn require more electricity and cement -- and so on down the chain.


Source: Daily News, 1975