Thursday, April 3, 2014

Mongolia Brief April 3, 2014



Ambassador of Mongolia to Republic of Finland, Z.Altai Accredited
April 3 (infomongolia.com) Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Mongolia to represent the country to the Republic of Finland, Zorig ALTAI presented a Letter of Credence to the President of Finland Sauli Vainamo Niinisto on March 27, 2014.

Following the credential handing ceremony, newly accredited envoy was received by the President and at the beginning of meeting Ambassador Z.Altai conveyed greetings of the President of Mongolia and the sides discussed issues concerning bilateral relations and cooperation.
On the same day, Ambassador Z.Altai had meetings with Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Security Policy of the Foreign Ministry of Finland Jaakko Laajava, Director of East Asia Team under the Department for the Americas and Asia at Foreign Ministry Sami Leino and the Director for International Relations at the Ministry of Education and Culture of Finland Ms. Jaana Palojarvi. 
Ambassador Z.Altai thanked the Government of Finland for implementing investment projects in the fields of geology and forestry of Mongolia. Mongolia is interested in cultivating productive cooperation with Finland in developing fishery and reindeer farm and applying Finnish state-of-the-art techniques and technologies in the mining industry of Mongolia.
Mongolia and the Republic of Finland have established the diplomatic relations on July 15, 1963.
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Speaker receives new Ambassador from Vietnam
April 3 (news.mn) The Speaker of Mongolian Parliament, Z.Enkhbold, received the letters of credence from Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam to Mongolia, Mr Fang Dang Duong, at Government House on April 2nd. 
In the meeting Speaker Z.Enkhbold wished success to Ambassador Fang Dang Duong for his mission in Mongolia and expressed his satisfaction about the revival of bilateral friendly relations between Mongolia and Vietnam over the past years and the increasing number of reciprocal visits. 
Speaker Z.Enkhbold emphasized that the state visit last year by Mongolia`s President Ts.Elbegdorj in Vietnam was vital to expand conventional bilateral friendly relations and cooperation between Mongolia and Vietnam and bring bilateral economic relations to a new level. The Speaker then pointed out Mongolia`s willingness to intensify political negotiations at every level with Vietnam, Mongolia’s traditional partner in Southeast Asia. He also emphasized the desire to deepen bilateral cooperation to include economy, trade, investment, agriculture, education, culture, labor relations, defense and law enforcement sectors, and to strengthen collaboration in the region and international arena. 
Ambassador Fang Dang Duong expressed his pleasure at arriving in Mongolia and showed his gratitude to Speaker Z.Enkhbold for taking the time to receive him. 
The Ambassador also said that he hopes the Speaker and Mongolian MPs will support his mission in Mongolia.      
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President’s website releases traditional Mongolian script version
April 3 (news.mn) In July 2010, President of Mongolia Ts.Elbegdorj issued a decree to increase official use of traditional Mongolian script. 
As the Presidential decree became effective from July 1st 2011, to adhere to the regulations, any official document or letter from the President of Mongolia, Speaker of Parliament, Prime Minister, and cabinet ministers to their counterparts in foreign countries have been sent in traditional Mongolian script along with official translations in the respective native language or UN official languages. Measures have also been taken to ensure birth certificates, Identity cards, all levels of education certificates and diploma are written in traditional Mongolian script except Cyrillic script. 
In the efforts to increase official use of traditional Mongolian script the President`s official web site www.president.mn has been released in two Mongolian language versions, one in traditional Mongolian script and one in Cyrillic. 
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Government to Support Fruit Farms
Ulaanbaatar, April 3 (MONTSAME) The Industry and Agriculture Ministry has announced a tender to support "Seabucktorn" program and to assist launching of fruit farms.
Within its goal to promote industrialization, the Government for reforms has decided to finance winter greenhouses that grow fruits such as apple, plum, cherry, raspberry, strawberry and blackcurrant throughout a year.
In order to meet certain percentage of domestic needs and to reduce imports of vegetables and fruits, the Government will fund a creation of winter glasshouses and solar-heated greenhouses in Ulaanbaatar and in provinces that plant cucumber, sweet pepper, leaf vegetables and fruits.
To intensify its ongoing "Seabucktorn" program, the Government is also planning to lend out seabucktorn seedlings to farmers.


Mongolian Development Company Signs LOA with Nikken Sekkei
Ulaanbaatar, April 3 (MONTSAME) The "Mon Uran" Mongolian development company has signed with Nikken Sekkei a Letter of Agreement (LOA) to design a landmark tower in Ulaanbaatar, reported constructionweekonline.com website on April 2.
The agreement requires Nikken Sekkei to design a mixed-use project that will cost in excess of $300mn once completed,it says. 
The tower will be situated in 1.1 hectares of prime city centre real estate, with a built up area of 110,000m2, situated just 10 minutes' walk from Sukhbaatar Square, the location of the Government House.
Dubai-based Dr. Fadi Jabri, general manager of Nikken Sekkei's Middle East and Asia office, said: "This project is another example of our innovative design and energy saving technologies. It follows on from other regional project wins such as designing the $1bn headquarters of the Saudi Stock Exchange, or Tadawul.
"We are hoping to display this as well as some of other projects at Cityscape Global, Dubai in September."
The tower will reach almost 300m over 68 floors and will feature a five-star hotel, serviced apartments, high quality office space and a shopping mall. It will be completed in December of 2018.
Commenting on the accord, B.Oyunchimeg, CEO of Mon Uran LLC, said: "We chose Nikken Sekkei because this project requires high quality and vision and we believe that they have the right credentials to deliver such a design."


Tour Guides Involved in Training
Ulaanbaatar, April 3 (MONTSAME) The Capital city's Tourism Authority has recently conducted a "Museum Guiding" training for professional tour guides in Ulaanbaatar.
A total of 23 people from 20 tour operators such as Genco Tour Bureau, Tuul Travel, Great Chinggis Expedition, Mongolia Expedition, Mondiscovery, Horseback Tour and Samar magic Tour got have gathered to earn knowledge and information that will help in guiding around museums such as  Zanabazar Museum of Fine Arts, National Museum, Military Museum, Ulaanbaatar City Museum, Winter Palace of Bogd Khan, and Choijin Lama’s Temple. They have been also sharing views and experiences in presenting history of monuments and buildings and explaining Mongolian tradition and customs.
The organizers say they want to make the participants be aware of frequent misinterpretations and lack of knowledge about exhibits.


BCM’s NewsWire Highlights
April 3 (Mongolian Economy) BUSINESS
MMC SEES WEAKNESS AHEAD FOR COKING COAL PRICES
Oversupply will keep prices low, says Mongolian Mining Corp. (MMC), as the firm posts a USD 58.1 million annual loss. MMC, the nation’s largest miner of coking coal sold primarily to China, expects the steel smelting ingredient’s price to remain weak this year due to oversupply, although it has gained market share from rivals by expanding processing and logistics operations. 
“I don’t expect prices to fall below current levels, but I don’t see meaningful price gain either, until demand and supply equilibrium is restored,” Chief Executive Battsengel Gotov told a press conference. He said prices of seaborne coking coal—mainly from Australia and Brazil—have been trading around the USD 85 per tonne mark since the start of the year. MMC’s average selling price of its mainstay product, hard coking coal, fell 15 percent last year to USD 92.10 a tonne from USD 108.40 in 2012, owing to an estimated excess supply of over 30 million tonnes. The excess is expected to fall to between 10 million and 15 million tons this year, helped partly by higher steel output in Europe and the United States, Gotov said. 
The mainland’s steel production growth is expected to slow to 4 percent from 7.5 percent last year as Beijing seeks to shift the economic growth driver from fixed-asset investment to consumption and services, according to the China Iron and Steel Association. Mongolian Mining yesterday posted a net loss of USD 58.1 million for last year, from USD 2.5 million in 2012 as finance costs almost doubled to USD 95.1 million. Revenue fell 7.8 percent to USD 437.3 million as the 15 percent fall in the average selling price offset a 26 percent jump in hard coking coal sales volume to 4.3 million tonnes. The firm aims to sell 6 million tonnes this year.
Land-locked Mongolia’s competitiveness is expected to be constrained until a government-built railway is completed next year or later, while Australian miners ramp up output to lower per-tonne fixed costs.
Source: South China Morning Press
MINING MINISTER EMPHASIZES COOPERATION AT PDAC CONVENTION
Mining Minister Davaajav Gankhuyag warmly welcomed foreign investment at Mongolia@PDAC conference in Toronto on 4 March, promising that Mongolia would “never repeat” its mistakes. 
The minister noted that “discrepancies” in laws would be addressed by Parliament and that Mongolia’s goal was to offer investors “firm sustainability of politics, economics and legal environment.” The Minister candidly admitted Mongolia had made mistakes that impacted foreign investment in the past but that it would “never repeat” them.
Gankhuyag also said that the moratorium on new mining exploration licenses, first imposed in June 2010, might end as a result of the Minerals Law amendments and other legislation to be taken up during the spring session of Parliament. He also mentioned the so-called “Long Name Law” that bans mining at areas near rivers and forests, saying resolution may be forthcoming, but did not directly address the issue of the 106 exploration licenses annulled last year as part of an investigation into corruption at the Mineral Resources Authority of Mongolia (MRAM).
When asked about Oyu Tolgoi LLC, the Minister several times said that all matters regarding the copper-gold mine would be resolved by its board of directors, which includes three Mongolian directors, without involvement by the Cabinet or Parliament.
Source: NAMBC
ECONOMY
INFLATION AT 12.2 % NATIONWIDE YEAR-OVER-YEAR FOR FEBRUARY
The National Statistical Office reported inflation year-over-year at the end of February of 12.2% nationwide and 12.0% in Ulaanbaatar. 
Inflation rose 0.9 percent inflation in February from January and was driven by price growth in food products and beverages. Inflation in Ulaanbaatar fell from 1.2 percent to 1 percent the year before, partly due to growth in meat prices of 45 percent this year compared with 73.2 percent the year before, said E. Erdenesan, deputy head of the macroeconomic statistics department.
The average monthly family income increased 14 percent to MNT 893,500 in February year-on-year.
Source: Zuunii Medee
FOREIGN TRADE BALANCE DEFICIT NARROWS
Mongolia traded with 92 countries for total external trade turnover of USD 1,208.5 million in the first two months of 2014, reported the Bank of Mongolia. 
Exports made up USD 594.6 million while imports were USD 613.9 million, with a foreign trade balance deficit of USD 305.1 million. The balance of payments was in deficit of USD 19.3 million in the year up to March.
Compared to same period of the previous year, the deficit fell 93.7 percent by USD 285.8 million. Total external trade turnover fell 8.3 percent by USD 108.8 million, and imports were down 24.3 percent by USD 197.3 million, while exports grew by USD 88.5 million or 17.5 percent, compared to the same period of the previous year.
Source: Montsame
GOVERNMENT SPENDING ON THE RISE
Government revenue totaled 709.4 billion for the first two months of 2014. 
Total expenditure and net lending was MNT 799.7 billion, representing a deficit of MNT 90.4 billion. Tax revenue grew 1.6 percent by MNT 10.1 billion from the same period in 2013, which has been attributed to a 32.4 percent increase by MNT 16.1 billion in additional tax revenue from social security and tax on foreign trade. Income tax collected fell 11.8 percent by 21.8 billion.
Total expenditure and net lending by the government grew 30 percent by MNT 184.4 billion to MNT 799.7 billion in the year to March, compared with the same period from the year before. Capital expenditure grew 4.7 times by MNT 83.1 billion from the year before, subsidies and account transfers grew 22.6 percent by MNT 63.9 billion, spending on goods and services grew 8 percent by 24.7 billion, and interest payments grew 3.2 times by MNT 21.7 billion. Lending minus repayments, however, fell by MNT 9 billion.
Source: Montsame
POLITICS
MAYOR INTRODUCES THREE-STRIKE POLICY FOR CITY OFFICIALS
Ulaanbaatar Mayor Erdene Bat-Uul introduced a new three-strike plan to encouraged better performance from city officials.
In light of cases brought to his attention where there were long delays before action was taken by the city, the mayor said any government authorities performing poorly in their positions would receive yellow slips to serve as warnings for their misconduct. Any official to receive three warnings, he said, would be dismissed from their position.
Source: Undesnii Shuudan
PRIME MINISTER DELIVERS SPEECH AT FAO CONFERENCE
Prime Minister Norov Altankhuyag spoke of the contributions Mongolia could make toward the global food supply in a speech 10 March on the third day of the 32nd session of the FAO Regional Conference for Asia and the Pacific in Ulaanbaatar. 
“[Countries] see us as a country based on mining, with high economic growth, but Mongolia has the great opportunity to reach high development with its agriculture, including through animal husbandry,” he said to an audience of representatives of agriculture, forestry and fisheries from 40 countries in the Pacific region.
Altankhuyag said Mongolia could help provide food around the world “through its 43 million heads of livestock.” He added, “A combination of our thousand-year-old traditional methods of raising livestock and modern technologies can make Mongolia a model exporter for the world reserve of organic foods.”
Source: Montsame


Mongolia’s Economy Facing Difficulties and It Is True, Says Finance Minister Ch.Ulaan
April 3 (infomongolia.com) Every Wednesday, a Government official works at the "11 11" Center to give comprehensive understandings on current situation arousing in the country and this time guest was Minister of Finance Ch.Ulaan.
Finance Minister emphasized and he did not hide that the country’s economy facing difficulties, therefore the Government of Mongolia should bear to cut needless spending, find effective project expenditure and strengthen control on budget executors.
Here below some question-answers.
The speculation of worsening economy in the country has been growing, what the reason is?
We have been facing economic challenges and there are several factors caused. For instances, by the end of the third quarter the state budgetary revenue did not hit the planned volume that caused to interrupt revenue from taxes for export products, where the world market price for mining products dropped. Also, some large-scale enterprises’ activities have not been stabilized yet, which caused to interrupt budget revenue by 20 percent. However, the State Budget for the first quarter of 2014 was approved lower compare to previous year’s quarter, but we have been facing budget revenue interruption and this warns a big signal in Mongolia’s economic prospects.
The US dollar rate against Tugrug is been strengthening, aftermath entities expect a huge deficit.
We cannot artificially reduce the dollar rate and it impossible. The key factor to keep and lowering the rate is to adhere a right policy, but Mongolia’s economy prefers to import all end-products. Let’s figure out, Mongolia’s population is only three million people and livestock counts at 45 million heads, but we purchase 70% of imported milk by foreign currency. We should get rid of that. Contrary, we have experiencing some positive outlooks. In the first quarter, foreign trade deficit has been reduced year-on-year and expect equilibrium of payment balance. Further, foresee to increase export and reduce import, at that time we can generate foreign currencies.
The State Great Khural (Parliament) approved a policy to hold inflation at one-digit this year. Do we have opportunities to reach this goal?
Although the regulation was ratified, as of the first three months of 2014, inflation rate is still at two-digit numbers and only implementing macroeconomic and state monetary policies, it is fully available to transfer into single digit.
How about salary and pension increase possibilities or facing insufficient fund?
It was ratified a bill to spend 200 billion MNT (Tugrug) for salaries and pensions, where pensions were increased in the first quarter and salaries being raised step by step. However civilians are not satisfied, but Government is considering to reach the preferable level.
When it expects to start the second phase of Oyu Tolgoi Project?
Government of Mongolia is ready to implement the second phase investment, but investors are delaying, which is related to the first phase disputes. Nevertheless, some issues to finalize the investment audit for the first phase are still awaited and Mongolia’s position remains same forwarded before.
Is it true that the Bank of Mongolia about to release a 50,000 banknote?
We are studying to release a 50 thousand banknote. Primarily in terms of economic efficiency we should foresee.
Do you think Mongolia’s total debt is underestimating due to law?
Yes, the total debt limit is set by law. Performances showed in 2013, the debt is included in the GDP’s 50 percent. This does not mean at the warning level, but we should to lessen up to 40 percent of GDP.


NEMA Decides to Release Quarantines in Khentii, Sukhbaatar and Dornogovi Aimags Caused by Foot-And-Mouth Disease
April 3 (infomongolia.com) The regular meeting of the National Emergency Management Agency of Mongolia (NEMA) was held on April 02, 2014, where the current situation of the foot-and-mouth disease outbreaks occurred in eastern three Aimags, measures carried out and further plans were discussed.
The first outbreak was recorded last January 27 in Ongon Sum of Sukhbaatar Aimag a n d spread to neighboring territories further to six Sums of Dornogovi Aimag, aftermath the disease covered 13 Sums of 3 Aimags and as of today, 3,454 animals were destroyed and 4.5 million cattle were vaccinated.
In the past 11-41 days, no new occurrences are registered, thus it was decided to release quarantines in Khentii, Sukhbaatar and Dornogovi Aimags, but animal migration from these regions are prohibited for another two months and raw materials transportation will be disinfected and sanitized at mobile posts.
Although the foot-and-mouth disease outbreak is stopped, some facts to revise are still under discussion, notes NEMA Secretary M.Enkh-Amar. For instances, under irresponsible operations by Veterinary and Animal Breeding Agency, first part of imported vaccines were transported and stored beyond its standard norms, moreover it was first diagnosed the disease was caused by “A” sector virus, but following the World Animal Health Organization’s laboratory summary it was concluded the disease refer to “O” sector virus. Fortunately, Mongolia imported “A” and “O” sector combined vaccines from China and Russia and if it was not ordered so, nobody knows how much casualties would expect Mongolia, says Secretary M.Enkh-Amar.
In order to stop foot-and-mouth disease outbreaks in 2014, the Government of Mongolia spent a total of 10.6 billion MNT compare to 27.1 billion MNT in 2005-2013.


Parliament Office Secretary-General Meets Latvian Ambassador
Ulaanbaatar, April 3 (MONTSAME) The Parliament Office Secretary-General B.Boldbaatar met with the Ambassador of Latvia to Mongolia Mrs Ingrida Levrence on Thursday.
Since the establishment of their diplomatic ties, Mongolia and Latvia have advanced their friendly relations and cooperation, said Mr Boldbaatar, citing examples of that: Latvia-manufactured VEF radios used to be almost in every family in the countryside, the Mongolians studied in Riga's Aviation University.
He also recalled a meeting of Parliament Speaker Z.Enkhbold with the Latvian Parliamentary Secretary of Foreign Affairs Ministry Viktors Makarovs amid the Ministerial Conference of the Community of Democracies in Ulaanbaatar last year to talk about establishment of inter-parliamentary relations between the two countries.
The Ambassador Levrence said that parliamentary elections will run this August in her country and that the Latvian President Andris Berzins plans to visit Mongolia, which, she believes, will be a great impetus to the Mongolia-Latvia cooperation.
Mr Boldbaatar said our parliament is to discuss an establishment of the Mongolia-Latvia parliamentary group and hoped that not only this but also Latvia-Mongolia group will be founded before the visit of Latvian leader.
Mrs Levrence pointed out a willingness of the Latvian business people to operate in Mongolia, and expressed a confidence in the contribution of Mr Berzins’ visit to leveling-up of the business and economic relations between the countries.


Mongolia to Cooperate with Finland
Ulaanbaatar, April 3 (MONTSAME) The Concurrent Non-Resident Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Mongolia to Finland Z.Altai met with officials of the Foreign Affairs Ministry of this country on March 27.
The Ambassador thanked the Government of Finland for implementing investment projects in geology and forestry of Mongolia in 2009-2011 and 2012-2014 and spoke about a 491 thousand EUR-funded joint project realized by the Government Implementing agency “Forest Authority”, a forest research department of National University of Mongolia and the Finland's forest research institute to improve forest researches capacity here.
He also proposed cooperating in developing forestry and fishery and reindeer farms in Mongolia and in introducing the latest hi tech to our mining industry, and asked Finland to support our education sector, for example, in reforming elementary school program, running teacher trainings and seminars.
In response, Mr Jaakko Laajava, Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Security Policy of the Ministry, Mr Sami Leino, the deputy director of East Asia team under department for Americas and Asia, and Ms Jaana Palojarvi, a director for international relations department of the Ministry of Education and Culture, said they are ready to cooperate in all above spheres.


Premier Works in Gobisumber
Ulaanbaatar, April 3 (MONTSAME) The Prime Minister N.Altankhuyag got au fait with the "Shivee-Ovoo" coal mine during his working tour to Gobisumber aimag on Wednesday.
Officials of the mine, who took up the duties over a year ago, said they managed to save 5 billion togrog by cutting various expenses except the salaries, and intend to save more 5 billion this year. It was appreciated by the Premier. Some 90 percent of coal extracted from the “Shivee-Ovoo” mine is sold to the #4 thermal power station, and it is now has receivables from power stations of Dornogobi, Tov aimags and the city’s Nalaikh district. Here the mine’s authorities asked the Premier to pay an attention. In response, the Premier said it is necessary to make related decisions at the cabinet meeting.
After this the Premier held a meeting with the aimag’s people. The cabinet for reforms is working transparently, the Premier said, the government has a goal called “Let's make in homeland” which supports the import substitution industries, he said.
“The cabinet is giving loans to people from the Fund of Soums’ Development and Fund for supporting small- and middle-sized productions, moreover, we have launched other programmes on providing  40-year and older people with jobs and student s with part-time jobs," he said.
The Premier also spoke about the "1,000 apartments' program, mortgage loans, creation of diagnostic centers in aimags and construction of paved roads.
The gathered asked the PM to solve finance matters concerning a construction of engineering pipelines in apartments, erecting of united hospital and building for a secondary school.


Capital City to Provide Elementary School Teachers with Shelter

Ulaanbaatar, April 3 (MONTSAME) Under an initiative of Ulaanbaatar Mayor E.Bat-Uul, an "Elementary school teachers–Social issues" meeting ran in UB palace on Wednesday.
The Mayor introduced to teachers a newly founded Capital city Housing Corporation, It has put forward a generous housing offer for elementary school teachers in the city. Accordingly, a teacher who pays 25%-30% of his/her salary every month can own a 25 sq m-40 sq m flat within 3-5 years, depending on the amount of the salary. This offer sounds exceptionally pleasant for the overwhelming majority who are not able to collect prepayment of housing.
Ulaanbaatar is in a need to supply 180 thousand apartments, but mere 15 thousand apartments come into service every year, meeting 10% of the demand, noted the Mayor during the meeting.


Mongolia to Host SEPD

Ulaanbaatar, April 3 (MONTSAME) Mongolia took part in the 126th meeting of the Committee of Permanent Representatives (CPR) to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) which ran in Nairobi, Kenya, on March 24-28.
Our country was represented by D.Batbold, the director of the department of Foreign Relations of the Ministry of Environment and Green Development.
At the action, the delegates agreed to organize the 11th Asia Pacific Sub-regional Environmental Policy Dialogue in the UB city this September.    
The annual SEPD brings together Ministers and eminent civil society representatives from all five sub-regions of the Asia Pacific region, namely Central Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia, Northeast Asia and the South Pacific. 


About ADB’s Forecast on Mongolian Economy

Ulaanbaatar, April 3 (MONTSAME) Developing Asia will extend its steady economic growth in 2014 as higher demand from recovering advanced economies will be dampened somewhat by moderating growth in the People’s Republic of China (PRC), says a new Asian Development Bank (ADB) report. ADB’s flagship annual economic publication, Asian Development Outlook 2014 (ADO), released on Wednesday.
It forecasts developing Asia will achieve gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 6.2% in 2014, and 6.4% in 2015. The region grew 6.1% in 2013.
The recovery in the major industrial economies is gaining momentum. Combined GDP growth in the United States, the euro area, and Japan is expected to pick up to 1.9% in 2014 from 1.0% in 2013 before strengthening further to 2.2% in 2015. Growth in the PRC is expected to moderate. The economy slowed to 7.7% in 2013 on impacts from tightened credit growth, pared industrial overcapacity, deepening local government debt, rising wages, currency appreciation, and the continuing shift in the government’s development priorities away from quantity toward quality. These factors persist and PRC growth is forecast to slow to 7.5% in 2014 and 7.4% in 2015.
While risks to the international outlook have eased, three areas warrant close monitoring. First, if efforts in PRC to curb credit expansion are too abrupt and excessively undermine growth, a deeper slowdown could drag down prospects for its trade partners, including Mongolia. Second, data on the recovery in the major industrial economies have been mixed; pointing to the possibility that demand for the region’s goods from these countries may be softer than envisaged. And third, a further shock to global financial markets from changes in US monetary policy cannot be ruled out.
For Mongolia, economic growth is forecast at 9.5% in 2014, driven by the start of copper production at the Oyu Tolgoi open pit mine last year and 10% in 2015. Rapidly declining foreign direct investment, falling coal exports, compounded by highly expansionary fiscal and monetary policy have created balance-of-payment (BOP) pressures. While the depreciation of the togrog has already stabilized the current account deficit, relieving BOP pressures, stabilizing the togrog and containing inflation will require a tightening of economic policy to rein in domestic demand growth. Mongolia’s economic prospects also remain highly vulnerable to economic trends in the PRC and the global economy, while current policies offer little buffers to cope with possible external shocks.


Tour Guides Involve in Training

Ulaanbaatar, April 3 (MONTSAME) The Capital city's Tourism Authority has recently conducted "Museum Guiding" training for professional tour guides in Ulaanbaatar.
A total of 23 people from 20 tour operators such as Genco Tour Bureau, Tuul Travel, Great Chinggis Expedition, Mongolia Expedition, Mondiscovery, Horseback Tour and Samar magic Tour got have gathered to earn knowledge and information that will help in guiding around museums such as Zanabazar Museum of Fine Arts, National Museum, Military Museum, Ulaanbaatar City Museum, Winter Palace of Bogd Khan, and Choijin Lama’s Temple. They have been also sharing views and experiences in presenting history of monuments and buildings and explaining Mongolian tradition and customs.
The organizers say they want to make the participants be aware of frequent misinterpretations and lack of knowledge about exhibits.



Young Herders to Gather for Consultation

Ulaanbaatar, April 3 (MONTSAME) A national consultation of young herders is planned to run this May 9-10.
It will be co-organized by the Ministries of Labor and of Industry and Agriculture and by youth initiative organizations. At the action, more than 300 young herders from all aimags intend to focus on their achievements and problems. 


Diagnostic Center Opens in Khovsgol

Ulaanbaatar, April 3 (MONTSAME) A medical diagnostic center opened its door in Khovsgol province on Tuesday.
This is one of 11 same centers erected to provide people with better and prompt medical treatment and diagnosis.
A 50 billion togrog sum has been spent from the PM's package to build up these centers and "arm" them with the latest equipment made in Japan, S.Korea, France, Italy, China and Brazils.
The opening ceremony was attended by Ts.Davaasuren, a Chairman of parliamentary Standing Committee on budget, the locality administrations and others. The Premier N.Altankhuyag was with them online.  


International Day of Sport to be celebrated

April 3 (news.mn) Mongolia will for the first time mark the International Day of Sport that has been declared by the UN along with the International Olympic Committee to celebrate the contribution of sports and physical activity to education, human development, healthy lifestyles and a peaceful world on April 4th. 
On April 4th athletes from every level of all sports organizations will gather together. The UN and the International Olympic Committee issued a joint resolution to annually mark the International Day of Sports for development and peace on April 6th. 
The International Day of Sports is celebrated globally to promote peace and the Olympic spirit for fair competition. For the upcoming International Day of Sports, the Central Palace of Culture of the Mongolian trade union will host a day-long event dedicated to the celebration including sports and cultural events, including a promotion presentation for Olympics spirit where all kinds of sports organizations will be involved on April 6th. 
The sports day event will start at 11.00 am on Sunday. 
As part of the International Day of Sports for development and peace, essay writing and art contests have been announced amongst children. Participants` inventions will be received by the Department of Policy Implementation on Mongolian physical culture of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism until 5:00 pm on May 2nd, 2014.
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"Altargana" to Be Held under Auspices of Premier

Ulaanbaatar, April 3 (MONTSAME) The "Altargana" festival of the Buryats will be celebrated this July 18-21 under auspices of the Prime Minister of Mongolia.
The first-ever Altargana ran was in 1994 in our Khentii aimag to promote folk arts and culture of the Buryats living in Mongolia, Russia and China. This year, the festival will be marked in this province again, together with representatives of five countries, says M.Khuderbaatar, a chairperson of the Festival Organizing Committee and advisor to the PM.
The festival, which takes place every two year, includes competitions of wrestling, beauty pageant and folk song singing and is expected to be attended by at least 10 thousand people. The previous Altargana took place in Aga Buryatia, an administrative division of Zabaykalsky Krai of Russia.
The Buryats or the Buryat-Mongols numbering approximately 500,000, are the largest indigenous (aboriginal) group in Siberia, mainly concentrated in their homeland, the Buryat Republic, a federal subject of Russia. They are the major northern subgroup of the Mongols.


Mongolian Pianist to Play Chopin Night

Ulaanbaatar, April 3 (MONTSAME) Mongolian pianist B.Oyu is planning to perform her fifth solo concert under a name of "Chopin Night" in the State Philharmonic Hall this Friday.
As the name suggests, the concert program solely consists of piano masterpieces written by Frederic Chopin, a romantic-era Polish composer, who mostly known for his compositions for solo piano.
The concert will be joined by Ms Oyu’s teacher S.Sayantsetseg, who will explain content and motion of pieces to facilitate audience’s perception of all greatness of those piano compositions.
Before the concert, B.Oyu performed with her country woman violinist O.Baigalmaa and represented her nation with her solo performances in Italy, Spain and China.


Train Museum of Marshal to Be Shown

Ulaanbaatar, April 3 (MONTSAME) On occasion of the 75th anniversary of the Victory on Khalkh River Battle, celebrated in August, a "Train Museum of Marshal" will open on June 6.
The Ministry of Defense and the Ulaanbaatar Railways joint venture agreed on this matter during their meeting to discuss cooperation issues. Accordingly, the UB railways and the Museum of Mongolian Troops will co-organize a campaign called "Warrior Flag" through the southern and northern railways.
In addition, a three-month campaign will commence soon to have all employees of the railways visit the UB-based Home Museum of Soviet Marshal Georgy Zhukov with purposes to propagandize the tradition of Mongolian military and promote the patriotism.
Present at the meeting were Colonel O.Batmonkh, secretary of the sub-commission for marking the anniversary; Colonel G.Zolzaya, a members of the commission; I.A.Dombrovsky, the first deputy head of the UB Railways joint venture and chairman of the working group of celebrating the anniversary of Khalkh River Battle; and Yu.Nyamjargal, a deputy head of the UB Railways.


Photo Exhibition Re-opens on Visitors’ Request

Ulaanbaatar, April 3 (MONTSAME) A photographic exhibition by A.Tumenjargal will open in Blue Mon art gallery on April 7-17.
Before this, the exhibition ran in the Mongolian Art Gallery March 14-16, displaying the nature and peoples of Tibet. The exhibition in Blue Mon gallery will include more photos taken in Mongolia.
The photographer usually focuses on main three themes--nature, portrait and city. This time he will display the bests of his travel photographs. The exhibition "Tibet-Through the Holy Land" marked the first of a series project named "Lost World". Visitors can also see there his previous exhibition photos (Mongolia-Savage Garden) which were on display in Chinese Tianjin in 2012.
Tumenjargal has published photo albums of all his exhibitions such as Wonders of Mongolia (2008), Inspiring Mongolia (2011), Savage Garden (2013) and Tibet-Through the Holy Land (2014).


“Student-soldier” program begins on Saturday

April 3 (news.mn) The "Student-Soldier" program based on Presidential Decree #92 that gives directions to the Government will begin on April 5th. The program, approved by the Government of Mongolia, allows students to serve in the army during their summer vacation. 
Student registration for the program was conducted between March 27th and 29th. Students who want to serve in the army must be over the age of 18. A total of 450 junior course students from 64 national universities and colleges were registered to the program.  The students who are to serve in the army will take their oaths in June as soldiers. 
The “Student-soldier” program will run in two phases of the General Military Course and Army Special Preparatory Course. The first General Military Course will be conducted for two months between April 5th and May.  The Army Special Preparatory Course will be conducted between June 1st and August. When a four-month military course is completed by a student they will be considered serving in the army. 
This year only junior students were allowed to enroll in the program. 


Developing Asia will continue to grow, but Mongolian Economy challenged by external imbalances

April 3 (Mongolian Economy) Mongolia’s economic prospects remain highly vulnerable to economic trends in China and the global economy, while current policies offer little buffer to cope with possible external shocks, says new Asian Development Bank (ABD) report.
Mongolia’s economic growth is forecast at 9.5% in 2014, driven by the start of copper production at the Oyu Tolgoi open pit mine last year and 10% in 2015. However, rapidly declining foreign direct investment, falling coal exports, compounded by highly expansionary fiscal and monetary policy have created balance-of-payment (BOP) pressures. 
While the depreciation of the tugrug has already stabilised the current account deficit, relieving BOP pressures, stabilising the tugrug and containing inflation will require a tightening of economic policy to rein in domestic demand growth. 
Developing Asia will extend its steady economic growth in 2014 as higher demand from recovering advanced economies will be dampened somewhat by moderating growth in China, says ADB.  Gross domestic product (GDP) growth is tipped at 6.2% in 2014, and 6.4% in 2015. The region grew 6.1% in 2013.
There are three areas warrant close monitoring for developing Asian countries. First, if efforts in China to curb credit expansion are too abrupt and excessively undermine growth, a deeper slowdown could drag down prospects for its trade partners, including Mongolia. 
Second, data on the recovery in the major industrial economies have been mixed; pointing to the possibility that demand for the region’s goods from these countries may be softer than envisaged. 
And third, a further shock to global financial markets from changes in US monetary policy cannot be ruled out. 
The recovery in the major industrial economies is, however, gaining momentum. Combined GDP growth in the United States, the Eurozone, and Japan is expected to pick up to 1.9% in 2014, from 1.0% in 2013, before strengthening further to 2.2% in 2015. Growth in China is expected to moderate. 
Its economy slowed to 7.7% in 2013 on impacts from tightened credit growth, pared industrial overcapacity, deepening local government debt, rising wages, currency appreciation, and the continuing shift in the government’s development priorities away from quantity toward quality. These factors persist and China’s growth is forecast to slow to 7.5% in 2014 and 7.4% in 2015. 


In 2014, It Plans to Cultivate Total of 373.5 Thousand Hectares of Land

April 3 (infomongolia.com) Today on April 03, 2014, the Ministry of Industry and Agriculture of Mongolia reported the spring sowing preparation works.
In 2014, it plans to cultivate a total of 373.5 thousand hectares, of which wheat in 304.5 thousand ha, 15.5 thousand ha of potatoes, 8.3 thousand ha of vegetables, 24.1 thousand ha of oilseeds and 10.3 thousand ha for animal feed.
In 2014, it expects to harvest a total of 426.4 thousand tons of crop, 198.1 thousand tons of potatoes, 106.8 thousand tons of other vegetables, 25.9 thousand tons of fodder and 19.2 thousand tons of oilseeds.
In 2014 spring sowing, a total 48 thousand tons of wheat seed are required according to estimation. Entities and individuals reserved 26.8 thousand tons of wheat seed and Agriculture Production Support Fund stored 1.2 thousand tons of wheat seed.
Despite of this volume, another 20 thousand tons of seed would be shortened, therefore it was resolved to import and following the Parliament decision, the necessary amount of seed will imported VAT free. Currently, a contract was made to import 6,800 tons of seed from Russia’s Altai and Buryat regions and already been delivered at “Khutul” platform in Selenge Aimag.
Also, it estimates to spend a total of 6.2 thousand tons of diesel for spring sow, 8.1 thousand tons of fuel for cultivation, and 5.8 thousand tons of diesel fuel for harvesting. Thus, the total crop production estimates a total of 20.1 thousand tons of diesel fuel and agricultural businesses and individuals will be provided with fuel in advance as loan no greater than 50% of total required.
This year, 2,100 tractors, 1,700 seeders and 3,200 soil processing trailer and swing machines will be exploiting in spring sowing and the technical readiness are at 70 percent.


Interactive Discussion to Develop Open Contracting in Mongolia Held with SDC and World Bank Participations

April 3 (infomongolia.com) On April 02, 2014, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the World Bank Offices in Mongolia have organized a highly interactive discussion to offer and develop Open Contracting Partnership in Mongolia.
The event was held at the Open Society Forum office in Ulaanbaatar, where more than 40 representatives from government, civil society and development partners in Mongolia came together to learn and discuss about the concept of open contracting.
The purpose of yesterday’s gathering was to introduce open contracting and its relevance for Mongolia, and to share the resources and tools that the Open Contracting Partnership offers.
Open contracting is a concept which is gaining momentum around the globe. It aims to set new norms and practices for increased disclosure and participation in public contracting, and covers the whole contracting chain from planning to finalization of contract obligations, including tendering and performance.
“I believe this is a timely and important step in making all contracting processes open and public in Mongolia,” said N.Dorjdari, Adviser to the Open Society Forum and Mongolia Country Coordinator for the Revenue Watch Institute in his opening remarks.
“Many civil society initiatives in Mongolia such as “The Publish What You Pay” initiative have been putting pressure on the Government of Mongolia to make its contracts open and accessible to the public. For this, the Government of Mongolia is making some of their contracts open and publically available, yet the majority still remains inaccessible. People of Mongolia, as rightful owners of the national wealth, are entitled to know what contracts have been concluded with the extractive industries, and whether they are receiving a fair share from the investment agreements the government is signing on their people’s behalf”, he said.
Kristina Aquino, World Bank Governance Specialist and the key-note presenter at the discussion highlighted, “Governments around the world spend an estimated 9.5 trillion USD every single year through contracts. Yet, contracting information is often unavailable for public scrutiny”.
The Open Contracting Partnership is facilitating a global consultation process to create a set of global principles that can serve as a guide for all of those seeking to advance open contracting around the world. Mongolia is participating in this partnership through the Public Procurement Partnership - a CSO network working on procurement reform in Mongolia.
Director of Public Procurement Partnership N.Otgonjargal said, “This is not a new concept in Mongolia. Thanks to joint efforts of civil society initiatives, the Information Transparency and Right to Information Law, the Public Procurement Law and the new Budget Law now encompass some measures to make public procurement more transparent and accountable. Moreover, it is crucial to establish a stable and permanent structure for allocating regular funding resources for independent procurement monitoring practice".
The discussion was significant in the sense that it brought together all parties working on contracting and procurement issues to begin a loose community of stakeholders working on open contracting. This emerging Mongolian community of practice is now able to tap into the wealth of resources and materials offered by the Open Contracting Partnership.
The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), working on improving local public tendering processes through its “Improved Competitive Outsourcing of Government Services” Project, has sponsored today’s’ discussion in order to make the open contracting initiative known among Mongolian stakeholders.
“Poverty and corruption are very closely related. SDC has a policy of zero tolerance towards corruption, and we also believe in transparency. Open contracting is a process that we will learn more about. For this, it is important to have high level commitment, but it could even begin with simple efforts to change the mind-sets of people”, says Director of Cooperation of SDC in Mongolia Markus Waldvogel in his closing remarks.

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