Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Mongolia Brief May 14, 2014 Part II



Standing committees approve minister’s resignation request
Ulaanbaatar, May 14 (MONTSAME) A joint meeting of two standing committees on Agriculture and on Economy approved Wednesday the resignation request of Industry and Agriculture Minister Kh.Battulga.

A majority or 14 members of 26 present backed a relevant draft resolution of the Cabinet to resign Kh.Battulga from the office of the Industry and Agriculture Minister, and agreed to submit it to a parliamentary session meeting.
During the meeting, responding to a question of J.Enkhbayar MP, the Industry and Agriculture Minister explained reasons of his resignation request linking to recent disapproval of proposed amendments to the law on Cabinet at the final voting in parliament. The amendments intended to eliminate dual mandates of ministers and parliament members.
A week ago, the Minister applied to the Cabinet with a resignation request from his current office of the Industry and Agriculture Minister.


Vice Speaker meets Honorary Consul of Mongolia to Lebanon
Ulaanbaatar, May 14 (MONTSAME) A Vice Speaker of parliament Wednesday received Mr Mohammed Zouhair Itani, the Honorary Consul of Mongolia to Lebanon, in the State House by the latter’s request.
At the meeting, the sides exchanged views on the Mongolia-Lebanon relations and cooperation and establishing a basis of the inter-parliamentary ties. Furthermore, they discussed issues of expanding the inter-parliamentary cooperation by setting up their parliamentary groups and on opportunities for developing the collaboration in the fields of economy, education, culture and science.  


Mongolia-Austria business meeting to be held
Ulaanbaatar, May 14 (MONTSAME) The Mongolian National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MNCCI) has announced it will co-organize a Mongolia-Austria business meeting on May 26 together with the Advantage Austria, an official Trade Promotion Organization for Austria.
The upcoming event is expected to attract Vienna-based AME International LLC, a global healthcare technology provider; Plasser&Theurer, an Austrian manufacturer of rail track maintenance and track laying machines; Norbert Schaller LLC; Hoffinger Solutions LLC, EOSS Industries LLC, UniCredit Bank Austria AG, Rosenbauer International AG and Bilfinger VAM Anlagentechnik LLC.
These companies intend to propagandize their products and services, to seek partners in Mongolia, to establish joint ventures and to cooperate with Mongolians.   


Stock exchange news for May 14
Ulaanbaatar, May 14 (MONTSAME) At the Stock Exchange trades held Wednesday, a total of 9,945 shares of 21 JSCs were traded costing MNT 12 million 849 thousand and 834.00.
"Silikat" /4,620 units/, "State Department Store" /1,701 units/, "Mongolia Development" /900 units/, "Khokh gan" /699 units/ and "APU" /502 units/ were the most actively traded in terms of trading volume, in terms of trading value--"Gobi” (MNT two million 701 thousand and 230), "Tavantolgoi" (MNT two million and 050 thousand), "Mongeo" (MNT one million and 880 thousand), "APU" (MNT one million 857 thousand and 450) and "Silikat" (MNT 970 thousand and 200).
The total market capitalization was set at MNT one trillion 603 billion 453 million 968 thousand and 019. The Index of Top-20 JSCs was 15,599.34, decreasing by MNT 62.01 or 0.40% against the previous day.





PUM expert presents fashion tendency
Ulaanbaatar, May 14 (MONTSAME) On Wednesday, the Mongolian National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MNCCI) and the PUM Senior Experts NGO of the Netherlands made a presentation about fashion designs for 2014-2015.
They aimed to improve quality and kinds of Mongolia-made products exported to countries of the European Union (EU) and to increase their competitiveness.
Main presentation was delivered by Mr W.P.Walraven, an expert at the PUM Senior Experts and owner of the Bulaggi brand, and the presentation attracted some 70 delegates of over 30 companies engaged in leather, cashmere, wool products, souvenir and other goods.
Mr Walraven also gave to the gathered a profile of his brand, and shared his views on design and fashion of Mongolian exporting clothes.


8 points on 100-day plan to boost economy
May 14 (business-mongolia.com) The cabinet proposed 100-day plan to boost the economy and overcome the economic difficulties last week. The 100-day plan already began to be implemented and below are the major points reflected in the policy.
1. Resuming of exploration license issuance
SGK has principally agreed to lift the ban on issuing new mining licenses after 4 years that it has been prohibited by the initiation of the President Ts. Elbegdorj in 2010. Policy makers believe that resuming exploration license issuance would contribute in attracting foreign investors.
Currently there are 2880 licenses held by companies. 1323 of them are operation licences and the rest are exploration licenses. It accounts for 8.2% of the country’s entire territory. Minister of Mining has proposed a draft on amendment of Mineral Laws of Mongolia.
2. Oyu Tolgoi
It was stated on the policy document that SGK and Cabinet will work on supporting and accelerating underground mine development of Oyu Tolgoi. However, the investors have postponed the underground mine investment until September which is referred to as Project Finance process. The updated feasibility study is set to be released in June this year after being delayed for over 2 years.
3. Tavan Tolgoi
In order to sustain and improve the competence of the TT mine, foreign investors will be invited to invest USD3-5 billion dollars for the mid-term production boosting purposes.
4. Railway
As mentioned in the draft proposal of the Minister of Economic Development N.Batbayar Tavan Tolgoi – Gashuun Sukhait, Sainshand-Zamyn Uud, Khuut – Bichigt railway networks will be built by 1435 mm standard, and Mogoin Gol – Erdenet, Tavan Tolgoi – Sainshand – Baruun Urt – Khuut – Choibalsan, Khuut – Numrug network will be built by 1520 mm gauge standards. Ongoing construction of 270 km Ukhaa Khudag – Gashuun Sukhait railway is about 40% and SGK will decide on the remaining rail network commencement in the near future.
5. Private sector reforms
Following proposal are made to strengthen and support private sector:
- Decreasing tax burdens, make reporting procedures simple, transparent, and open, tax easement on certain activities;
- Economic amnesty law proposal.
- Property right law amendment
- Identifying and eliminating the difficulties faced by private businesses and support them on accessing capital markets.
- Eliminating overlapping inspections by regulatory agencies on businesses.
One of the examples being made in the framework of the current process is that 90% of the tax will returned to those entities that have up to MNT1.5 billion in income.
6. Raising the debt ceiling
It has been proposed that debt ceiling should be raised fro 40% of the GDP to 70%. MPP is currently against the idea, however as a head of the working group of this proposal MP S.Bayartsogt is facing a tough challenge to raise the ceiling, and even mentioned about forming a coalition.


The Mongolian Dream: Tsetsegmaa
May 14 (UB Post) Tsetsegmaa, 50, unemployed.
What is your biggest concern in life right now?
The biggest concern in my life is to have a home and for my daughter to be healthy. What would you like to see for your children in 20-30 year from Mongolia?
In the future, I really would like to have a home for my daughter. That is the only thing that I want.
If you were a top decision maker in the country, and you could change only one thing, what would it be?
I don’t really know about Mongolia, so there is nothing on my mind.
On a scale of one to 10, how happy would you say the Mongolian society is?
I would give it 10 points.
How do you think this age will be remembered in the future?
It will be remembered as a good society.


The Mongolian Dream: Lkhagvadorj Enkhbat
May 14 (UB Post) Lkhagvadorj Enkhbat, 27, is an artist. He lives with his wife and two children. He focuses on alcoholism and depicts it in his artwork.
What is your biggest concern in life right now?
Alcoholism in society is the biggest concern for me. But I can’t say that it is alcoholism alone. Society is a compound of people. Drinkers are a part of society. I would call them a vulnerable group of people. I’ve interviewed these people. As they say, they are not addicted to alcohol by choice. We are a society, but we discriminate against these drinkers in society. In my opinion, present Mongolian society is divided in two groups: one is normal society and another one is a fallen society. People in the fallen society are a blend of discriminated people from normal society. These people can join in normal society if we become a little bit kind-hearted. I express their wishes through my artwork. I can do nothing for them alone. I describe their thoughts in my artwork.
What would you like to see for your children in 20-30 years from Mongolia?
I want a safe, clean and peaceful future for children. As well, I want everyone to be able to do whatever they want without any social influence.As for me, I painted one drinker and nobody understood why and said, why did you paint a drinker instead of beautiful nature or something like that? This is social influence. On the other hand, budget is also a big problem. Artwork is a small project I think. Some organizations abroad support fine art and artists. Mongolia has nothing. My children mustn’t face problems like mine if my children become painters, like me. I am an artist. That is why I have to create my artwork. But I cannot spend all of my time creating because of social influence.
If you were a top decision maker in the country, and you could change only one thing, what would it be?
If I were President of Mongolia, I would support the art of Mongolia. Art is a vast concept. The government focuses on sports, music and dance. Fine art is missed. People think painters create paintings and sell them at high prices, and that all painters are rich. They think fine art is very easy. Fine art is different from their thoughts. I watch television. Art news being broadcast on television is mostly about sports, singers and reality shows. Fine arts competitions are held in other countries. Mongolian artists have not participated in such competitions before. If athletes participate in the Olympic games, the Mongolian Government will support them financially. Fine art is missed. The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Art does nothing for the fine art sector.
On a scale of one to 10, how happy would you say Mongolian society is?
I am always searching the dark side of the city. There are many beautiful places, building and streets, but I can’t see those things. Drinkers or homeless people in the street attract my attention. I will give zero points for the happiness of Mongolian society.
How do you think this age will be remembered in the future?
I think Mongolian society will not develop. Mongolia will develop its appearance, such as buildings and streets. Maybe there will be fewer drinkers or homeless people after 20 years. When I was a child, I watched movies and imagined Mongolia would be amazing when I grew up. Now, everything is the same as it was 20 years ago. Only buildings have been built and the price of goods has increased. People are becoming more cold-hearted day by day.


The Mongolian Dream: Gan-Erdene Jargalsaikhan
May 14 (UB Post) Gan-Erdene Jargalsaikhan, 25, is an unemployed graduate of the Music and Dance College
What is your biggest concern in life right now?
Unemployment is the biggest concern of mine at present. Because there is a lack of workplaces for my profession. I was working at the Mongolian State Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet before. The working conditions, internal regulations and salary were bad. Working conditions at the Mongolian State Academic Theater of Opera and Ballet conflict with their internal regulations. Basically, the salary was too low. I am not talking about only the Mongolian State Academic Theater of Mongolia. All workplaces for classical art are the same. I wish there were more workplaces for classical art. If I request a different job, organizations will not employ me, because I am a wind instrument player.
What would you like to see for your children in 20-30 years from Mongolia?
The first thing is education. For example, the tuition fees of universities in Mongolia are too high. The tuition fees of state universities are higher than the private universities. In most foreign countries, state universities are free. Mongolia has to follow this. Some youth from low-income families cannot enter the universities. Everyone has a right to study, but the Mongolian educational system restricts that right. The youth are Mongolia’s future. If they can’t be educated, they can’t contribute to Mongolia. The second thing is the environment. There is no place to spend our free time except at cinemas and the amusement park. I am really worried about this. If kids grow up in a nice environment, they probably will have good manners. Alcoholism and violence are increasing because there is no place to go. There are too many lounges, bars, pubs and nightclubs.
If you were a top decision maker in the country, and you could change only one thing, what would it be?
If I were the President of Mongolia, I would focus on the youth. The youth is Mongolia’s future, as I said above. Some youth have a real ambition to study. But some of them have no money. The government must focus on the educational system. Youth who have rich parents study abroad. Every youth wants to study abroad. The government has to solve this issue, such as giving state scholarships to youth who really have an ambition to study. The youth will develop Mongolian society in the future.
On a scale of one to 10, how happy would you say Mongolian society is?
I will give three points out of 10 for the happiness of Mongolian society. Mongolians say Mongolia is a democratic country. Everyone lives in the same society in a democratic country. Some people are too rich and some are too poor. Some kids are living at waste disposal sites and collecting and eating waste. Some families are living close to a cemetery. The Mongolian poverty level is extremely high.
How do you think this age will be remembered in the future?
I hope Mongolian society will be developed as a highly-developed country after 20 years. We probably will remember this period as history.


The Mongolian Dream: Magsarjav Gunregjav
May 14 (UB Post) Magsarjav Gunregjav, 72, is a retired technician.
What would you like to see for your children in 20-30 year from Mongolia?
I wished that all five of my children would have their own homes and careers. I have dedicated my entire life to it, but even now, I can’t reach my goal.
If you were a top decision maker in the country, and you could change only one thing, what would it be?
If I were President of Mongolia for a day, I would definitely manage, check and do all the work in the Parliament in person. Because they spend a lot of money now, but on what specific things we can’t see. I want to show people all the things that are happening in Mongolia clearly.
What is your biggest concern in life right now?
I have married and had five children. This is the biggest concern in my life.
On a scale of one to 10, how happy would you say the Mongolian society is?
Mongolian society can’t reach five points for me. In this society, anyone can live and work. But only being honest isn’t enough.
How do you think this age will be remembered in the future?
I really think society is improving day by day, but it is still not so satisfying. It will be remembered as good.


The Mongolian Dream: Tserenbaljid Choinzongompil
May 14 (UB Post) Tserenbaljid Choinzongompil, 70, is retired.
What is your biggest concern in life right now?
My biggest concern is pension. I want the opportunity to increase pensions. The government has to conduct more policy on pensions for retired people. If pensions are increased, retired people’s reliance on their children would decrease. Mongolian pension is low.
What would you like to see for your children in 20-30 years from Mongolia?
Mongolian children, teenagers and youth will develop Mongolia in the future. I want the youth to be educated, well mannered and have national pride. That is why the Mongolian educational system must be improved. Also, parents have to focus on raising their children. Now, parents trust their children to teachers. It’s wrong.
If you were a top decision maker in the country, and you could change only one thing, what would it be?
I would do a lot of things if I were the President of Mongolia. But the most important thing is to be honest. I would establish justice for all sectors. Also, I would employ honest people to work for the state. No corruption and no deception in the state.
On a scale of one to 10, how happy would you say Mongolian society is?
Mongolians trust that members of the State Great Khural will improve Mongolia and take care of citizens. Mongolians want an honorable government. But nowadays, Mongolian society is getting worse. I will say Mongolian society is a normal society, not bad and not good enough, and I would give it four points. I hope Mongolia will develop in the future. The government will do more.
How do you think this age will be remembered in the future?
I imagine that there will be brightness for Mongolia’s future. This period will be remembered as history, as we remember past periods.


The Mongolian Dream: Oyun-Erdene Duinkhersuren
May 14 (UB Post) Oyun-Erdene Duinkhersuren, 24, is a housewife and lives with her husband and child.
What is your biggest concern in life right now?
The biggest concern in my life is money. My husband works at a state university. That’s why his salary is really low. His salary is spent on basic needs such as housing bills, food and needs for my daughter. I want to buy clothes or something for my husband, daughter and me, but we haven’t more money to buy those things. Also, I want to study at a university for a master’s degree, but I need money for tuition. If I go to university, I need a babysitter. Hiring a babysitter is also money, so money is my biggest concern. I graduated from university, and  I am able to work, but my daughter is too little now. She is only one year old. When she reaches two years old, she will go to kindergarten. After that, I will find a job.
What would you like to see for your children in 20-30 years from Mongolia?
Girls are giving birth at younger ages day by day. In my opinion, when people give birth at a young age, it means they are contributing to Mongolian development. Women have to sit at home after giving birth. The state has to give an allowance to young housewives, because their children are Mongolia’s future. Mothers must nurture their children until they are up to two years old. Some mothers hire babysitters and work for money. It is very bad for your child’s formation of character. That’s why the state has to focus on young mothers.
If you were a top decision maker in the country, and you could change only one thing, what would it be?
I would improve the education system of Mongolia and prepare skilled workers. Now, huge and tall buildings are being built. These buildings will not influence the country’s development, as I see it. If everyone in Mongolia was skilled, Mongolia would not need to import products from abroad and hire foreigners for construction work.
On a scale of one to 10, how happy would you say Mongolian society is?
Looking from one perspective, Mongolian society is a happy society. Because Mongolia exists between two giant countries. Also, Mongolia is an independent country, which means state policy is not bad. From another perspective, the Mongolian economy depends on foreign countries. In addition, our education level and its quality is getting worse and worse. Everyone graduates from university but their knowledge and skill level is not good. Students are the product of universities, and universities are producing bad products. This means that state policy on education is really weak. Aside from these issues, I would give six points for the happiness of Mongolian society. Mongolia is a peaceful and safe country compared to other countries such as Ukraine, Iraq and Iran.
How do you think this age will be remembered in the future?
If Mongolia is doing the same as it is today in the future, it will probably lose its independence. If Mongolia changes its policy and improves its economic situation, Mongolia will develop like Singapore, or somewhere like that. Every citizen has to be responsible for his or her actions.


The Mongolian Dream: Namjil Sodnom
May 14 (UB Post) Namjil Sodnom, 56, is an English Language Instructor at the National University of Mongolia who has devoted 24 years of her life to teaching students English. She is the mother of two kids and currently lives with her husband.
What is your biggest concern in life right now?
I’ve actually grown used to it, as I’ve always had a small salary since the 1990s, but I’d have to say that it still remains the biggest concern in my life today. Why? Because it hasn’t been raised at all since 2010, while the prices of consumer goods have increased radically since then.
What would you like to see for your children in 20-30 years in Mongolia?
As a citizen of Mongolia who was part of Mongolia’s society from the 1960s until now, I don’t want to go backwards and I don’t want to stand still in the same place every day. However, I’m afraid of going forward as well, because our living standards are decreasing, and the ecology and environment of our country is getting worse day by day, for me and the Mongolian people. I feel very pessimistic when I see today’s Ulaanbaatar and its environment.
I want my children to live in a Mongolian society where Mongolians earn the same salary in a safe and clean environment, just like in America and England. I hope Mongolia will get better soon in terms of everything, as our society is following these countries.
I wish for my children to live in a better environment and society than what we have now, even if it is not perfect. They need inexpensive food and basic consumer goods. They need permanently lit streets and I don’t want other people stealing their purses on the street, or in buses and shops.
If you were a top decision maker in the country, and you could change only one thing, what would it be?
I would eliminate the rivalry and competition between the Democratic Party (DP) and Mongolian People’s Party (MPP) and make them work together for the people of Mongolia, if I had the power to make a step towards improving the situation in our country.
The MPP has a lot of experience in governing the state and the DP should cooperate and exchange experiences instead of discriminating against or defaming each other because of party memberships, to improve society, especially the economic situation, as it is in very critical condition right now.
Narrowing the gap between living standards of the rich and the poor would be an important action as well.
On a scale of one to 10, how happy would you say Mongolian society is?
I would give it a five. How can Mongolia’s society be happy when we breathe air full of hazardous gas and pollutants, when we have to cross a road with a massive puddle of waste water that’s run down from a ger area after the rain, or get onto a bus with a new pair of shoes that almost get torn or become obviously dirty when we exit? Almost nobody here says, “Excuse me,” or “I am sorry,” these days. When we were young, people in society were not very sophisticated or modernized, but still they knew when to apologize.
On the other hand, we couldn’t find what we needed in shops before. Now, there is an abundance of various goods.
How do you think this age will be remembered in the future?
It depends on what Mongolia’s society will look like after 20 years. If the same leadership and governance will be functioning in Mongolia 20 years from now, no big changes will be brought about. Twenty years is a very short period of time for a country’s history, so I’m not expecting very big differences if we talk about 20 years.


The Mongolian Dream: Borozenets Tatiana Leonidovna
May 14 (UB Post) Borozenets Tatiana Leonidovna, 51, is a Russian teacher at the Mongolian University of Science and Technology.
What is your biggest concern in life right now?
The biggest concern in my life is to see my children live well and independently. I want my children to understand what life is and its value.
What would you like to see for your children in 20-30 year from Mongolia?
I want a future where my children can use their talent and potential completely and they can be satisfied with their job.
If you were a top decision maker in the country, and you could change only one thing, what would it be?
If I were the President of Mongolia, first of all, I would change the drinking laws.
After that I would produce natural resources independently, build factories and develop national production.
On a scale of one to 10, how happy would you say the Mongolian society is?
I would give a seven or eight, because Mongolia doesn’t play an important role in the world. The world is not dependent on Mongolia. I can’t give it a 10 because Mongolia is poor, but it is peaceful.
How do you think this age will be remembered in the future?
It will be remembered as dishonest.  At present, no one can find their place and they live on the backs of their parents. This is a really bad thing. Because of this dishonest situation, young people can’t find jobs.


The Mongolian Dream: B.Munkhdul
May 14 (UB Post) B.Munkhdul, 30, is the Founder and CEO of Cover Mongolia.
What is your biggest concern in life right now?
My biggest concern about Mongolia right now would be how our country can sustainably develop without too much volatility.
My biggest concern, personally, is how much I can contribute to this age when we need smart and farsighted people.
What would you like to see for your children in 20-30 years in Mongolia?
The kind of future I want to see for my children is a society where they will have an equal opportunity to grow, regardless of their status or how much wealth I give them. All children should have the opportunity to develop and become productive citizens, regardless of how rich their parents are.
If you were a top decision maker in the country, and you could change only one thing, what would it be?
One thing I want to change is the healthcare system. So that everybody has access to health insurance. Before providing education, I think everyone needs to be a healthy individual.
On a scale of one to 10, how happy would you say Mongolian society is?
I would say around seven. I think, generally, Mongolians are optimistic. Someone who is in the same situation in another country might be pessimistic, but I think that – by nature – Mongolians are always optimistic because in a nomadic culture you can’t survive in nature without being optimistic.
How do you think this age will be remembered in the future?
If we do it right, perhaps we’ll remember this time as a time when Mongolia transitioned into a resource country. I think in the next 20 years we’ll find out whether we’ll become a successful resource country or a failed resource country.


The Mongolian Dream: Temuulen Ganbold
May 14 (UB Post) Temuulen Ganbold, 24, has recently majored in business management. He lived and studied in the United States for eight years and returned to Mongolia when he was 18.
What is your biggest concern in life right now?
My biggest concern in my life right now is taking care of myself and my family financially, as nowadays, it is nearly impossible to survive without money. I hope this situation changes for the better in the near future, as the world is always changing.
What would you like to see for your children in 20-30 years in Mongolia?
Everyone is a unique individual who has something different to offer and share. If kids learn to be individuals when they are growing up, each can bring their own gifts to the world.
Nowadays, more and more people are rapidly becoming aware of current situations through technology and the internet, so that younger people don’t really want to be under any authority or become interested in religion, politics or the education system anymore. The education system around the world is more left-brain based and about logic and memorization, so that it can get better. It is not improving children’s creativity and how they can have an important effect on society. But now, you can see it is changing; more people are singing, dancing  and creating their own distinct styles and images.
So, I basically want my kids to have a better education and live in a society where no one is poor, and no one is too materialistic, as they are now. I want a future with more smart people for my kids.
If you were a top decision maker in the country, and you could change only one thing, what would it be?
I would change the educational system to change the way that people think. Instead of trying to change the world, a person should change himself or herself first, as we are like a single drop in the ocean. If one person changes, that person has an impact on people around them, and those people can start changing as well.
On a scale of one to 10, how happy would you say Mongolian society is?
I’d say somewhere in the middle, maybe a little above, like 6.5. There could be multiple answers on why I think it is 6.5. I’d say the general happiness of Mongolia’s society is pretty good. There is hope for improvement now.
I think one of the main reasons that it is not eight or nine on the scale is that the majority of people, not only in Mongolia, but also around the world, is that they feel lost, helpless and don’t know their purpose in life.
How do you think this age will be remembered in the future?
People in the future will probably look back at our age as the world becoming more global and connected through technology and interactions, both virtually and physically, as now we can travel around the world easily and become more integrated.


The Mongolian Dream: Enkhmaa Tsagaanbandi
May 14 (UB Post) Enkhmaa Tsagaanbandi, 26, is a neonatal nurse at the First State Maternity Hospital who lives with her husband and a child in the Bayanzurkh District.
What is your biggest concern in life right now?
Low salary is the biggest concern for me right now. I’m making ends meet without any money to spare on other stuff that I want to buy for myself and my family. I can afford to pay only for the basic needs for living, including basic ingredients for meals for my family, electricity, water and public transportation.
What would you like to see for your children in 20-30 year from Mongolia?
I wish that current problems in our society that affect us on a day-to-day basis, such as permanent price increases of consumer goods, or simply traffic congestion that makes us waste so much of our time on the way home and to work, will be tackled by the time my child comes of age – maybe in 20 years. “Money is no more valuable than a piece of paper,” as we say now.
Also, it seems our Mongolian society is generally very stressed out and cautious because of poor social security. I want my child to live in a healthy and safe environment.
If you were a top decision maker in the country, and you could change only one thing, what would it be?
I would definitely raise wages and welfare, especially in state-owned organizations, as Mongolians seem to be receiving lower salaries than they actually deserve in return for their work and compared to the current prices of basic consumer goods.
On a scale of one to 10, how happy would you say the Mongolian society is?
I would rate the happiness of Mongolia’s society as a four. The reason that I’m giving it a quite low score is once again linked to low monthly wages. If salaries were higher, I think the people in our society could have much better living standards, which is the basis for being content and happy.
How do you think this age will be remembered in the future?
I guess it depends on how much change Mongolia’s society will have seen in 20 years. But I’m sure I would say this period was the start of a good future, as things have been shifting to a more open and transparent society, even though the current situation facing society is a bit chaotic.




The Mongolian Dream: Michelle Borok
May 14 (UB Post) Michelle Borok, 37, is an American editor at The UB Post newspaper. She is married with one child and has lived with her family in Darkhan-Uul Province for the past two years.
What is your biggest concern in life right now?
At this time, the Mongolian health care system is my biggest concern. Having recently lost a child and as a result of my experience in a public hospital following that loss, I’ve become more painfully aware of the challenges to maternal and children’s health here. Money and investment for private clinics is on the rise, but the public system continues to fall to the wayside, and the public system is what the majority of Mongolians depend on. Lives are at stake while that gap grows.
What would you like to see for your children in 20-30 years in Mongolia?
I’d like my daughter to live in a society that does more than memorialize the lessons of the past, but truly embrace them. There are traditions and beliefs here about community, family, sharing and living modestly that are more meaningful than relics of the Socialist past, but represent a better way of life. It’s what so many visitors are drawn to when they first experience Mongolia. There’s a way to make these traditions work in a modern world, if people are willing to be honest about what a better future for everyone truly means.
If you were a top decision maker in the country, and you could change only one thing, what would it be?
I would focus on education reform. All of the problems that Mongolian society is facing now, and all the consequences they hold for the future, can be addressed on a deeper level by looking at what young Mongolians are given access to in schools. Teaching kids about health, the environment, teamwork, world history, economics and literature in a new way will revolutionize their worldview and the way they take part in their communities.
On a scale of one to 10, how happy would you say Mongolian society is?
In my Mongolian family, I’d say it’s a four or five. We have several heads of household who are actively looking for meaningful work. They are looking for job security and fair wages for the labor and time they sacrifice being away from their children. They are eager to see their children succeed and have opportunities for education that they didn’t have, but they have to pool resources among the extended family to provide that support. Some of our family are herders, and they worry about the land and lifestyle they’ve maintained. They know that it’s rapidly changing for the worse and they feel like their concerns go unheard.
How do you think this age will be remembered in the future?
Hopefully, in the next twenty years, better decisions will be made about how to invest in the future of Mongolia, but I think crucial mistakes have already been made about what the country’s most valuable resources truly are. I think there will eventually be reflection on the generation that came of age during the economic and political transition, and on what it cost them. I imagine there will also be reflection on the tremendous contributions of repatriates who are redefining Mongolia today, and how they compare to their predecessors who were sent to study abroad and strengthen the Mongolian brain trust. So much is written about how vibrant and unique today’s Mongolia is, and there’s no end to observations on the juxtapositions between “tradition” and “modernity” that defines it. Somehow all those observations paint a very static picture of a country at the mercy of external forces, but the reality on the ground is very different.


The Mongolian Dream: Enkhchimeg Nergui
May 14 (UB Post) Enkhchimeg Nergui, 23, is a student at the Mongolian University of Science and Technology.
What would you like to see for your children in 20-30 year from Mongolia?
I’d say it’s for my children. Let’s say in five years, I would like to see a society which has equal rights, as it is now, but more open opportunities for everyone, not just those who have a higher education and influential friends or relatives. I want my children to be equal to everyone else and also have equal opportunities. That is the society I really want.
If you were a top decision maker in the country, and you could change only one thing, what would it be?
The President of Mongolia is a very high position. In my opinion, I would probably do something to eliminate pollution. I mean, the air pollution is what everybody is talking about. Trash is everywhere and it is really messy all over the street. It is really painful to me and many other people. We have very big land and a nice history. If we keep throwing trash in the street like this, it really bad lesson for our children. Children will have the mindset that it is okay to dump trash anywhere. The problem will be here forever and they won’t know if it is normal or abnormal. Maybe I will make everyone clean up their trash.
What is your biggest concern in life right now?
I am a student. To be honest, being a student in Mongolia is really easy and there is not so much stress because the classes and teachers are quite flexible. Even the assignments we have are easy. The biggest concern in my life would be an exchange program, because I am working at entering an organization called AIESEC. We have a program for promoting Mongolian students’ awareness of community service, and their mindset and mentality is very different. Mongolian students don’t see its benefits for the future. I really wish our students could become more aware of community service and their future.
On a scale of one to 10, how happy would you say the Mongolian society is?
It definitely is a happy society. Maybe I will give it a nine because we have a lot of opportunities. Being a tour guide, becoming involved in organizations, and others.
How do you think this age will be remembered in the future?
It will be remembered as the first step towards globalization.


The Mongolian Dream: L.Oyun-Erdene
May 14 (UB Post) L.Oyun-Erdene, 44, is a housewife and former psychologist.
What is your biggest concern in life right now?
Although the state talks about providing jobs to those over the age of 45, this is not satisfactory to me. I have not appealed to such government programs myself, but the jobs they offer seem to be very superficial, such as planting flowers on the street during summer, which to me, feels like an early forced retirement. I think this is important because 35-45 year olds have a lot of experience in life and business, and knowledge. Young people have kids and school to worry about, but older people have passed this period and have more free time. So, my short answer is finding a job.
What would you like to see for your children in 20-30 years in Mongolia?
Nobody wants to imagine their future darkly. I want good things and a bright future for my children, but the bright future I imagined for my children seems to have been postponed by a decade or so, because our education system is failing. Current education is as it was during my time – it has not changed. All mothers want a healthy, high quality education for their kids; a comfortable and safe environment for them to play and learn in. I want a society that encourages mothers who want to raise good citizens. Mothers need time and devotion to raise good people. This opportunity needs to be created for them. For instance, they at least need to build a new power plant. This will decrease pollution and reduce electricity prices. Nobody wants to live with a coal burning stove at home. When electricity is cheap, people can use electric heaters and ovens and pollution will decrease. Mothers would not need to cover their children’s mouth and nose, and they wouldn’t need to worry constantly. At least the lines for medical treatment would decrease. When children are healthy, the nation’s future will be healthy.
If you were a top decision maker in the country, and you could change only one thing, what would it be?
I would build a power plant. Whether it’s coal, hydroelectric, or nuclear, I would make power accessible and cheap.
On a scale of one to 10, how happy would you say Mongolian society is?
I would rate it one. There are many factors. From kindergarten to high school, children are brought up to believe that money and material goods are all that matters. They are brought up to idolize wealthy people driving nice cars and speaking on expensive phones. This is a social tragedy. The value of a person is reversed, that’s why I think our society is failing.
How do you think this age will be remembered in the future?
I have no doubt that everything will be better in 20 years. A lot of change is taking place, a lot of development. As for how things will be remembered, I think this will be remembered as the age when the scale for determining human value changed. I believe that when more people are educated and developed, everything will work out better.


The Mongolian Dream: B.Nordogmaa
May 14 (UB Post) B.Nordogmaa, 18, is a student at the National University of Mongolia.
What is your biggest concern in life right now?
I’m concerned about my studies and daily difficulties, but the biggest concern would be the education of Mongolian children, especially basic knowledge and grammar for speaking and writing correctly. Now, children are structuring sentences in whatever way they want. In just one sentence, they make so many mistakes. This may seem insignificant at the moment, but in the future, how will people communicate and understand each other if they are incapable of speaking or writing correctly? Language is the key to communication.
What would you like to see for your children in 20-30 years in Mongolia?
If Mongolians can become more conscientious in 20 to 30 years, it’ll be wonderful. If, by then, everyone knows our history, respects elders, disposes of garbage in bins, helps and supports one another, believes that there’s nothing they can’t do or achieve, and lives peacefully without fear, I can’t wait for it. I’m feeling optimistic about the future.
If you were a top decision maker in the country, and you could change only one thing, what would it be?
There are many things I want to change. However, since education is the key to everything and most affects the development of countries, I’d probably focus on the education sector. For example, the future of children depends on their mentors and teachers. If working conditions and salaries for teachers are satisfactory, teachers will be motivated to teach and guide students down the correct path to life and success. They’ll also like their work more and become more active.
On a scale of one to 10, how happy would you say Mongolian society is?
For me, it’s not very satisfactory. I’ll give it four to five points. The society doesn’t support those who are aspiring for the future. Only a few people hold all the money and power in Mongolia.
How do you think this age will be remembered in the future?
I’ll remember myself and everyone being very tolerant. We elected the same MPs several times, and even though we know that they will not accomplish much, we still vote for them again in the next election. Instead of voicing our opinions and thoughts, we’re sitting on the fence and just adapting to disadvantageous changes. For example, inflation. When eggs that cost 300 MNT yesterday cost 400 MNT today, we either buy them at the new price or completely stop purchasing them. We’re never protesting or demanding answers and reasons. It might be due to failing several times. Even the streets; when it’s muddy with ponds everywhere, we just jump over them like ballerinas. We don’t do or say anything. I’ll remember us being more enduring and tolerant.


The Mongolian Dream: M.Davaadorj
May 14 (UB Post) M.Davaadorj, 20, is a student at the National University of Mongolia.
What is your biggest concern in life right now?
Money, I guess. Since I’m a student, I had my parents pay for my tuition last year. Lately, I’ve been doing a part-time job. The most important thing is money. We’re studying to get a good job with a high salary, and with the salary we can live in happiness and get all the glory. So, we need money.
What would you like to see for your children in 20-30 years in Mongolia?
I’m a pessimist, so I don’t imagine the future to be good. There haven’t been many changes since the 1990s, so it will probably stay the same, with no changes. Some buildings may be built, but the consciousness of people will not develop.
If you were a top decision maker in the country, and you could change only one thing, what would it be?
I’d make the law very strict, especially, for bribing. For example, punish people by chopping off their hands. If we do this, people will be afraid, and fear puts things in order. But maybe not too strict. There should be laws and laws should be enforced exactly. Presently, the law is nothing.
On a scale of one to 10, how happy would you say Mongolian society is?
I’ll give three points to Ulaanbaatar and eight to nine points to people with a rural settlement lifestyle. Mongolians have passed down the nomadic way of life for decades, so a settled lifestyle doesn’t suit us. It will not work. Look at Ulaanbaatar, it’s so crowded. In rural settlements, it’s different, much better. If the people are capable of taking care of oneself and have jobs, they’ll live happily.
How do you think this age will be remembered in the future?
I’ll probably remember my stupidity and how much freedom I had. I can play all I want without responsibilities. I don’t think I’ll remember much about society.


Cause of fire at Bars-2 Market revealed
May 14 (UB Post) The cause of the fire that broke out at Bars-2 food market on Saturday turned out to be a careless replacement of a gas tank in the canteen of the market in candlelight while electricity was out, according to the police.
No one received injury in the fire, however it left around 300 traders in financial losses.
The power was out at the market when two workers of Gorgas LLC arrived at the canteen to replace a gas tank. The canteen cooks were cooking in candlelight and a fire suddenly broke out while the gas tank was being replaced.
The cook of the canteen commented, “I’m not sure whether the new gas tank was already leaking through its cap or just wasn’t fully covered during installation. As far as I know, the fire broke out while replacing. The worker who was replacing it immediately went out when the fire broke out.”
“I wonder how he thought it is fine to replace such a dangerous tank full of gas in candlelight. If the tank exploded, people could’ve died,” she added.
Renters of the canteen have called the emergency management departments immediately and five teams of fire fighters extinguished the fire at around 12 p.m as the division of Fire Department No.18, which arrived first at the scene, couldn’t do it alone. The canteen was made mostly of construction foam and plastic materials and the fire spread quickly reported firefighters.
The Bayangol District Police Division No.2 officers investigated the fire scene and questioned witnesses. Some said the two workers of Gorgas LLC were brothers who regularly replace gas tanks under contract. But they had already left the scene before the police came.
Stored vegetables, meats and other food products at the market were visibly ruined in the fire. Even other products which weren’t burnt have lost their freshness in the smoke, reported traders.
“We purchase food products through a loan. It is obvious that specialized inspection agencies will release an order to eliminate all damaged food we have bought which leaves us no option but to demand compensations from Gorgas LLC and the workers who poorly fulfilled their responsibilities. We will prepare all the required documents and references needed for the compensation,” a trader at Bars-2 said.
The damage assessment will likely take some time according to the Bayangol Police Division No.2.
The two workers of Gorgas LLC are under questioning according to sources at the police.


State support for the cashmere sector
May 14 (UB Post) If Mongolia can export cashmere as an end product, we can earn benefits of 1.9 to 2.9 trillion MNT every year, say specialists. Due to the issues of turnover, insufficient equipment, and a limited workforce, for now we export washed cashmere to our southern neighbor. There are 15 production complexes, 23 small and medium knitting factories, over 50 textile factories, over 100 domestic workshops and approximately 7,000 workers in Mongolia’s cashmere industry. We prepare 7,000 tons of wool every year, out of which, only 15 percent is turned into finished product in Mongolia. The Republic of China exports an average of approximately 4,000 tons of brushed cashmere a year and provides most of the world’s supply.
We have the opportunity to compete with China with our brushed cashmere, but the main challenge is “how”. According to Yondonsambuu, vice principal of the Mongolian Wool and Cashmere Association, they have made an effort to stop washed cashmere export, but 10 to 15 years will be needed to build suitable wool and cashmere production factories with the capacity to produce all the wool in Mongolia. While the factories are being built, we will definitely face the issue of continued export.
Cashmere is growing coarser. It creates an opportunity to sell Mongolian wool cheaper than Chinese wool at 22 USD. Yondonsambuu underlined the significance of rating wool by its texture. It may be necessary to increase red goat numbers in Altai soum of Khovd Province, and provide cashmere which is less than 16.5 mkm in diameter as “Mongolian King Fine Cashmere”.
In most competing countries, wool and cashmere production factories only see 15 to 20 percent profit.
The loan interest at some foreign banks is less than five percent. It helps industries improve their business. Unfortunately, In Mongolia, it is usually at least 18 percent, but mostly fluctuates between 26 to 27 percent. As a result, the state has begun issuing soft loans to certain industries. In 2011, the state issued 100 billion MNT in loans at eight percent interest. It led to an increase of 20 percent in cashmere products and 30 percent in exports. But it is not sustainable to get continuous loans from the state. Lowering interest at private banks provides a better opportunity for industrialists to expand production.
For the development of the wool and cashmere sector, 68.8 million USD and 115 billion MNT were distributed from the Chinggis Bond, but only 40 percent reached industrialists. The government made a decision to help national producers by buying 4,000 tons of cashmere, but as of now, companies don’t have access to it.
Currently, from the Chinggis Bond, 65 projects were submitted to Golomt Bank, but only 58.13 billion MNT required for 34 projects has been distributed. Due to lack of collateral, 18 billion MNT for 10 projects was rejected.
If the government wastes time waiting and doesn’t provide grants to industrialists, we may be taking a step back in reaching our goals. The cashmere sector has the potential to earn profits in the overseas market, perhaps even more than mine deposit exploration and collecting currency reserves,.
Our domestic producers remind us that if the state does not pay attention, our goal to advance in the global market will be just a dream, and Mongolian cashmere will simply continue to support Chinese cashmere products with our raw materials.


DP to take measures if 100 day project to improve the economy shows no results
May 14 (UB Post) The Democratic Party Caucus called a press conference to report on the caucus’s plenary meeting and decisions made. During the caucus meeting, the Democratic Party’s parliamentary group members heard N.Altankhuyag’s statement and discussed draft bills which will be submitted within the resolution to improve the economy. The caucus also discussed Mongolia’s 2014 budget amendments.
The Democratic Party, the majority in the Parliament, believes that the 100 days to intensify and improve the economy is a crucial period, and said it will decide what to do with the government if there will are no positive results for the economy. During these hundred days, it will operate to make the state stable, according to the DP’s statement during the press conference.
The party members agreed that the draft bill to make the VAT threshold 50 million MNT should be discussed immediately and reached a decision to make the government responsible for submitting a draft bill on returning two percent of VAT to citizens, as well as submitting a draft amendment on tender bids. The members feel that the basic 75 day term for bids is too long and it is better to select a tender that can provide more, instead of one that offers less.
During the press conference the caucus chairman said, “We agree that there is a demand to summarize which projects of the government made mistakes and which policies were frozen, even though various factors caused economic deterioration. Many laws should be amended in order to recover the economy. The operations of around 100 entities will be recovered along with amendments to the Minerals Law and approximately 300 licenses will be re-issued as well.”
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