Friday, November 14, 2014

Mongolia Brief October 24, 2014

Mongolian – Russian citizens will travel without visa up to 30 days
October 23 ( The Inter-Government Agreement on mutual travel conditions of citizens of the Russian Federation and Mongolia was signed on September 3 2014.

The agreement is becoming effective on November 14 2014 and according to the agreement any passport holder of the both nationalities can travel to each other’s territory without visa up to 30 days, starting from the given date of effective.
But there is small restriction of the total travel time, such as a traveler shall not exceed his/her accumulated stay more than 90 days within 180 days or 6 months of his/her entry. If any traveler wants to stay more than 30 days, reside or work, he or she shall need to apply related visa.
In addition, according to the Mongolian immigration and naturalization policy, every traveler who has visa more than 30 days of stay, he or she shall be registered at the Immigration Office within working 5 days of entry.

About Speaker’s Upcoming Visit to China
By B. Amarsaikhan
Ulaanbaatar, October 24 (MONTSAME) The Speaker of parliament Z.Enkhbold is to pay an official visit to the People’s Republic of China (PRC) on October 27-28.
He has been invited by the Chairman of the Standing committee of the National People’s Congress of China Zhang Dejiang.
Mr Enkhbold will be received by the President of the PRC Mr Xi Jinping, will run official talks with his Chinese counterpart Dejiang and sign the memorandum of understanding on establishment of permanent cooperation mechanism between the State Great Khural of Mongolia and the National People’s Congress of China.
The Speaker is also expected to give interviews to Chinese Central Broadcaster “CCTV-9” and Phoenix TV, and to visit CNPC Corporation to hold a meeting with the board of directors of Sinopec Limited.
He will be accompanied by S.Byambatsogt, S.Odontuya, M.Batchimeg and D.Sumiyabazar MPs, also by senior advisor to the Speaker S.Lambaa, Mongolia's Ambassador to China Ts.Sukhbaatar, and the foreign Vice-minister D.Gankhuyag.

Ban Ki-Moon Delivers Message on UN Day
By B. Khuder
Ulaanbaatar, October 24 (MONTSAME) The Secretary-General of the UN Mr Ban Ki-moon Friday delivered a message on the Day of United Nations which is annually marked on October 24.
In his message Mr Ban underlines that the UN is needed more than ever at this time of multiple crises. "Poverty, disease, terrorism, discrimination and climate change are exacting a heavy toll. Millions of people continue to suffer deplorable exploitation through bonded labour, human trafficking, sexual slavery or unsafe conditions in factories, fields and mines. The global economy remains an uneven playing field," he says.
"The founding of the United Nations was a solemn pledge to the world’s people to end such assaults on human dignity, and lead the way to a better future. There have been painful setbacks, and there is much work ahead to realize the Charter’s vision.  But we can take heart from our achievements.
"The UN Millennium Development Goals have inspired the most successful anti-poverty campaign ever.  United Nations treaties addressing inequality, torture and racism have protected people, while other agreements have safeguarded the environment. UN peacekeepers have separated hostile forces, our mediators have settled disputes and our humanitarian workers have delivered life-saving aid.
"At this critical moment, let us reaffirm our commitment to empowering the marginalized and vulnerable.  On United Nations Day, I call on Governments and individuals to work in common cause for the common good," the message says.

Parliament of Mongolia Ratifies to Construct Some New
Railway to China Using Narrow Gauge of 1,435 mm
October 24 ( At the morning plenary session of the State Great Khural (Parliament) of Mongolia held on October 24, 2014, final discussion of the Government Policy to Adhere on Railway Transportation and Measures to Implement was revised among 51 Parliamentarians, who were present out of 76 MPs.
The summary for final discussion was introduced by Chairman of Economic Standing Committee of the Parliament MP B.Garamgaibaatar saying, “At the Cabinet and Standing Committee meetings it was agreed to resolve the issue of constructing the new railway track’s width to China as a set of consideration, which was included in this draft bill. Also, if the Government of Mongolia negotiates with China, some routes directed to the PR of China will be enabled to construct with a narrow gauge of 1,435 mm and some with a broad gauge of 1,520 mm”.
Following some answer-question debates, the third reading of the bill on the Government Policy to Adhere on Railway Transportation and Measures to Implement was ratified with 84.3% of votes.
In this regard, the Parliament of Mongolia approved to construct new railway between Tavan Tolgoi - Gashuun Sukhait and Khuut - Bichigt using narrow gauge of 1435 mm, and new railway between Arts Suuri - Erdenet, Tavan Tolgoi - Sainshand - Baruun Urt - Khuut - Choibalsan, and Khuut - Numrug will be constructed under broad gauge of 1520 mm.

Ulaanbaatar- Manchuria Travel Conference held
October 24 ( The Ulaanbaatar – Manchuria Travel Conference was held in North East China, on October 17-20th.
The travel conference featured Mongolian travel exhibitions and workshops for the Chinese travel industry.
Manchuria is the largest region in China that borders with Russia. In the past several years, Manchuria has been a focus of Chinese authorities for development as a special region for vacations and tourism.  Manchuria is visited by 4.6 million visitors a year, earning 6.9 billion CNY.
Mongolia's Hunnu Air launched an Ulaanbaatar-Choibalsan-Manchuria flight in October 2013 to provide opportunities for both Chinese and Mongolian passengers to travel between the regions.
Due to visa free policy in place for Mongolian and Russian passport holders, effective in November, parties are talking about possible ways to conduct Russia-Manchuria-Ulaanbaatar-Russia trans-regionional travel.
The Ulaanbaatar – Manchuria Travel Conference came after the Mongolia-China Travel Forum  in Ulaanbaatar, held in June.

Trade and Economic Forum to Be Held
By B. Amarsaikhan
Ulaanbaatar, October 24 (MONTSAME) Mongolia will hosts a trade and economic forum on October 25 at Best Western Premier Tuushin Hotel, attracting over 100 business people from Chinese Inner Mongolian Khyangan province interested in investments and partnership in our country.
The action has been initiated by this province's government. The "Khyangan products" exhibition is to run October 24-27 at Misheel Expo center.
Proposals to establish cooperation documents have been submitted by business people of Khyangan province, seeking partners in Mongolia in following areas: investments and cooperation in mining; supply of food products such as flour, rice and vegetable oil, dried meat, and supply of raw materials; collaboration in frames of the project of building Mongolia-China-Russia art and culture complex, establishing a cultural center for Chinggis Khaan’s Golden Kin, collecting horse-brands; implementation of projects of planting sunflowers and vegetables; projects of planting watermelons, melons and vegetables; joint  project in agricultural sector; marketing sheep-hides and leathers; import of horse meat; agreement to supply chicken and eggs; establishing a joint factory of medicines; cooperation and investment of CNY 10 million in construction materials and immovable properties’ sector. 

Merit Athlete of Mongolia O.Gundegmaa Wins Silver at 2014 ISSF World Cup Final
October 24 ( Following the four series of the 2014 ISSF World Cup held in Fort Benning (USA), Munich (GER), Maribor (SLO), and Beijing (CHN), the 2014 ISSF World Cup Final in rifle, pistol and shotgun events is ongoing in Gabala (Qabala), Azerbaijan until October 27, 2014.
The 2014 ISSF World Cup Final in Gabala features 39 participant countries competing with 154 athletes. The largest national teams in the tournament are the People's Republic of China (23 athletes), the Russian Federation (19), Italy (14), Germany (9), and the United States of America (8), where representing Mongolia (2), Merit Athlete Otryad GUNDEGMAA has competed in the 25 m Women Pistol, who was qualified to participate in the World Cup Final by winning a Gold medal at the ISSF World Cup Series held in Munich in June 2014.
At the ISSF World Cup Final, the best 11 shooters have competed in the 25 m Women Pistol, where O.Gundegmaa gaining 21 pts in the semifinal was able to compete for the Gold medal contest against Monika Karsch (Germany). Consequently O.Gundegmaa won a Silver medal and the Bronze medal was grabbed by Zhang Jingjing (China).
The second shooter representing Mongolia, IMS Olzvoibaatar YANJINLKHAM will be competing in the 50m Rifle 3 Positions Women on October 26, 2014.
In 2014, the Beijing Olympics Silver medalist O.Gundegmaa has won a total of 1 Gold, 3 Silver and 2 Bronze medals from World Championships, World Cup, World Cup Final, and Asian Games so far.

Speaker of Parliament of Mongolia to Conduct Official Visit to China on October 27-28, 2014
October 24 ( Upon the invitation of the Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress of the People's Republic of China, Zhang Dejiang, Speaker of the State Great Khural (Parliament) Zandaakhuu ENKHBOLD will be conducting an official visit to Beijing on October 27-28, 2014.
During his visit, Speaker Z.Enkhbold will call on the President of China Xi Jinping and will hold a bilateral meeting with the Chairman Zhang Dejiang, after which it is expected to sign a Memorandum of Understanding to establish a permanent partnership mechanism between the State Great Khural and the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress.
Also, Speaker Z.Enkhbold is planned to give an interview to CCTV-9 and Phoenix televisions, besides he will be visiting China’s CNPC Corporation and meet Sinopec Corporation authorities.
Mongolian delegates will be comprised of Parliamentarians Mr. S.Byambatsogt, Mr. N.Battsereg, Mrs. S.Odontuya, Mrs. M.Batchimeg, Mr. D.Sumiyabazar as well as Senior Advisor to the Speaker Mr. S.Lambaa, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Mongolia to the PR of China Mr. Ts.Sukhbaatar and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Economic Cooperation Mr. D.Gankhuyag, moreover journalists will be also accompanying.
Mongolia and the People’s Republic of China have established the diplomatic relations on October 16, 1949 and reciprocally opened its Embassies in Ulaanbaatar and Beijing in 1950.
In 2014, the two countries are celebrating the 65th anniversary of diplomatic relations and announced the year as Mongolia-China Friendly Exchange Year.
Speaker will pay a visit to, October 24

Deputy PM Meets Russian Delegation
By B. Khuder
Ulaanbaatar, October 24 (MONTSAME) The Deputy Prime Minister and head of the State Emergency Commission D.Terbishdagva Friday received a delegation led by Lieutenant-General E.N.Chizhikov, a chief expert of military affairs of the Russian Ministry of Emergency.
The delegation is taking part here in a Mongolia-Russia joint meeting on abolishing aftermath of industrial accidents and natural disasters. 
Intergovernmental agreement on protection of forests from fires was signed during the visit of the Russian President Putin this year, and a number of such fires is decreasing year by year, "but it would be of importance to erect new checkpoints near borders because the two countries’ people will travel to each other without visas very soon, we must tighten control," he stressed.
He also asked the Russian side to train our servicemen and officers in the Firefighting Academy at the Russian Emergency Ministry and to collaborate in prevention of industrial accidents.
Mr Chizhikov thanked the Deputy Premier for the audience and said the Russian side has decided to train six Mongolians on basis of its scholarships.

Major Copper Smelter to Be Built
By B. Amarsaikhan
Ulaanbaatar, October 24 (MONTSAME) A proposal of a working group, the Ministry of Industry and Agriculture, has been supported by  the government on building a major copper smelting plant in Bor-Undur of Khentii aimag. 
A necessity to have such a plant in own country was raised by the Vice-Minister of Industry and Agriculture B.Tsogtgerel.
This place has been chosen after several discussions on the location among which were Choir and Khutul. Bor-Yndur is the closest to a site where the raw materials will be mined.
According to the document submitted, it is estimated that the plant construction will run in 2015-2018, with a financing of USD 300-400 million. Private entities have presented their proposals to erect same smelters in several other areas as well, says the Ministry.

Special thanks go out to wild cat preservationists
October 24 ( The Global Snow Leopard Conservation Forum was held in Bishkek, in the Kyrgyz Republic. The annual forum declared October 23rd to be International Snow Leopard Day.
The countries of Afghanistan, Bhutan, China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan resolved to celebrate 2015 as the International Year of the Snow Leopard.
Twenty-three areas covering more than 500,000 km2 of snow leopard habitat have been identified in twelve countries in Asia.
It estimated that the wild cat population is dangerously low, between 3,920 to 6,390, from the most recent estimate from the Global Snow Leopard Ecosystem Protection Program in 2013.
Marking International Snow Leopard Day, the Ministry of Environment and Green Development  expressed special thanks to the WWF Mongolia Programme Office, Snow Leopard Conservation Foundation in Mongolia, NGOs, and the Institute of Biology for their long and tireless, comprehensive activities on raising public awareness, fostering local resident involvement in snow leopard protection, conducting comprehensive studies and research, reducing the rate of poaching, and providing the public with knowledge about ecology and endangered native species.

Dozens of anonymous SMS messages sent on behalf of MPs
October 24 ( Concern about dozens of anonymous SMS messages sent on behalf of MPs  was raised at the plenary session meeting of Parliament today, during the review of the State Policy on Railway Transportation.
Anonymous SMS messages saying, "Will you vote on issues 1. Cut broader gauge with narrow gauge, 2.To be arrested by Bank of China, 3. Rent land for 100 years to foreigners," were sent to customers mostly of MobiCom, the nation's largest mobile telephone service provider. The messages began arriving in inboxes last night, with gathering complaints. The SMS messages appeared to be sent on behalf of Members of Parliament, which is a violation of their authority.
Several MPs, including Speaker of State Great Khural, also received anonymous SMS messages which appeared to be sent from their own phone numbers.
Speaker Z.Enkhbold ordered Chief of the General Intelligence Agency of Mongolia B.Ariunsan to investigate the issue.
The Standing Committee on Security and Foreign Affairs announced that they will look closely into the issue and have their information verified by a sub-committee following a special report.
MobiCom Corporation, Mongolia's largest mobile phone operator, held a press conference today. CEO of MobiCom Corporation LLC, David Holliday, and the Vice President of MobiCom Corporation LLC issued a statement during the press conference:
Earlier in the afternoon, there was attack of violating SMS messages via customers of MobiCom and other mobile phone operators, targeting political issues involving foreign countries.
MobiCom Corporation has investigated the issue and discovered the source of the anonymous SMS messages, as result of our prompt action. MobiCom officially announces that this is not a leak of personal data of our customers, or information.  
MobiCom networking experts found that the anonymous SMS messages were sent from Romanian mobile phone network operator Vodafone.
Unitel customers also found the same anonymous messages and the company discovered that they were sent from Malta. MobiCom Corporation is now working to identify if they used SIM cards or electronic devices to send the messages.
Experts have found that 20 customers' phone numbers were used. But how many messages were sent is still unknown.”

Mongolia – Russia inter-government commission held meeting
October 24 ( 18th regular meeting of the inter-government commission on trade, economy, science and technical cooperation between Mongolia and Russia was held in October 13-15 2014.
The main agenda of the meeting was to accelerate certain issues agreed by Presidents of two countries during the official visit of President Putin to Mongolia and parties exchanged point of views on the further steps.
Also working groups on trade, economic cooperation, transport and land held meeting in parallel. As the result of the meeting, protocol was signed. During the meeting Chinggis Land Development Group of Mongolia and “Dalistroimechanizatsiya” JSC signed on the Memorandum of Understanding of cooperation in the project “Altanbulag – Ulaanbaatar – Zamyn – Uud”, one of the five directions of Talyn Zam (Silk Road) project.
The inter-government meeting was led by the Deputy Prime Minister Terbishdavga from the Mongolian side and Mr. Donskoi.S.E., Minister for Natural Resources and Ecology, from the Russian side. Minister Donskoi met with Prime Minister Altankhuyag, MP L.Bold, Minister for Foreign Affairs, MP Oyun, Minister for Environment and Green Development.

Moving into Mongolia’s health insurance market
By B. Enkhtsetseg
October 24 (Mongolian Economy) Laurent Pochat-Cottiloux, Managing Director at AXA Healthcare Management based in Singapore, has spent 18 years in the private medical insurance industry. With an MBA from the London Business School, he has worked both in start-ups—launching the UK health subsidiary of French insurance group Azur-GMF—and in mature corporate environments—as UK Health Commercial Director for Standard Life.
Laurent, as Managing Director of AXA, is blazing the trail for private medical coverage in Mongolia, where basic healthcare has been traditionally covered by the state. Yet as state healthcare falls further behind the times—with long waiting lists, outdated facilities, and doctors without the specialized expertise found in better equipped hospitals abroad—there is an opportunity for private hospitals and private insurers to fill the void. While there are currently 17 domestic insurance companies in Mongolia, AXA is the first international company to enter the marketplace, and is working in partnership with top domestic insurer Bodi to bring employer-based coverage to Mongolia. 
How many years have you been in this business?
The health insurance which I am representing, AXA, has been in the health insurance business for 70 years. I have been in this business for 18 years, and four years with AXA. I like the fact that health insurance gives medical treatment to people when it’s needed. It’s nice to see that we are helping people’s lives.
You are trying to bring world standard health insurance to the private health sector in Mongolia. What kinds of products are you trying to introduce here?  
There are already private health insurance companies in Mongolia. What we are trying to do here and elsewhere in Asia such as in Korea, Pakistan—we are introducing comprehensive coverage. It means you can get more for your money. You get medical expenses paid. You can go to the best hospitals in Ulaanbaatar, like the recently opened private hospital InterMed, with lots of doctors and brand new machines. We would also allow people to go to six countries for medical treatment—Korea, China, Europe, Singapore, Bangkok and so on. There are mid- to high-end market products not for mass market but for the middle-class and above. Maybe in Mongolia, a hundred thousand people could buy it.
There are very few employers who offer insurance to their employees. Is it hard for you to penetrate a market with such a foreign concept to Mongolia? 
Yes it will be a little bit slow in the beginning because people are not used to it. It will take a few years but we’re patient. We’ve done a lot of research and we’ve asked a lot of companies here and employers in Mongolia. Practically every HR manager we’ve talked to has said “we’re looking at this, we’re thinking about it.” They haven’t yet bought the products but they’re thinking about it, and that this might be something they need to do in the future.
As a business person, why come to Mongolia?
I am covering a big region, Mongolia was one of the last markets where I didn’t have an insurance partner. Although it’s not a big market, we’re very excited about what it could become in a few years’ time. We just need a few large employers like MCS for example to start providing health insurance to their staff. Then everybody will have to do the same, and people will start comparing the market and they want to look good. It could move quite quickly. Of course we’re in bigger markets as well. We’re in China, we’re in India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand. 
Why did you choose Bodi insurance out of the 17 insurance companies in Mongolia?
AXA and Bodi are going to enter into a partnership, not just on health but also on large industrial risks like insuring airplanes, power plants, and stuff like that. There is a logic to it. Bodi is a large insurance company—number two in the market. They’re dynamic, they have good managers and they’ve got good distribution, hundreds of agents. 
It seems like most investors are moving out of Mongolia, so it’s interesting to see you coming into Mongolia and bringing business—is this a difficult decision to make? 
The slowdown in the market is really just a blip. As soon as you have the next big project coming in they start reemploying people. We have the same situation in other countries who are very dependent on a few projects like Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, in some parts of Indonesia, eastern Indonesia. Right now it’s a little bit down, but we’re not worried about the long-term prospects for Mongolia. 
Which is the leading country in Asia buying health insurance today?
Practically every emerging and developing market has a lot of trouble with public health systems—it’s very difficult in places like India, Indonesia, and China to provide good public health care. So there’s a need for private healthcare as well. There’s waiting queues in lots and lots of places. Indonesia has introduced social security, universal health insurance, but there are very long waiting lists at Indonesian hospitals. We sell a lot in Indonesia, but we are successful in most markets. 
How many hospitals can you cover in Mongolia? 
Approximately, six to eight main hospitals. We will also be giving access to hospitals outside of Mongolia. AXA has contracts with 12,000 thousand hospitals worldwide.
What percentage of costs can your health insurance cover?
It depends on the product you buy. Typically, we cover 100 percent. We compare 100 percent of costs as long as treatments that you are claiming for are covered. So typically, insurance products don’t cover for your illnesses that you had prior to joining. If you have had a heart attack just before buying products, you are not going to be covered for health services. But otherwise, if it’s new, we should be able to cover everything.
Do you have a different policy for people working in the mining sector?
We would apply price loading. So it is more expensive for mining sector workers and less expensive if you work in a bank. We are working on a range of products with Bodi insurance, equivalent to 500 dollars per year to about 3,000 dollars. 
What services can I receive with my insurance?
Well if you claim, and get surgery, you will get many times your premium back. The idea of insurance is that we’re hoping one out of ten users use the product in a year and you share the risk. So if it might cost 20,000 to have heart surgery or 10,000 dollars to have knee surgery, and if you have to go to the hospital for treatment, the benefits you get would be many many times what you pay in premiums.
How do you know that the diagnosis is correct?
We spend a lot of time managing claims’ costs. We have doctors and nurses employed by us. They know how much things should cost. We question—why is this guy staying 10 days when it should only be five. Why are you doing all these tests when you can only do two tests? Hospitals and doctors, their business is to treat people, they sometimes overspend. As an employer you don’t want to pay too much for medical treatment that makes your premiums go up. We do a lot of work trying to keep medical expenses low by making sure that people get the right treatment. 
I think you heard that Mongolia is a country with a very high rate of heart disease. Are there other lifestyle factors you might take into account when you enter a market?
We take into account other lifestyle factors when we supply products. The product would have to take into account all the risk factors. So in countries where there’s more smoking, the product is more expensive. Each market has its own price. Launching this product with Bodi insurance, we want to better educate people to lead better lifestyles. To be healthier to have a better diet, do more exercise. In some countries we include a ‘wellness’ service in the product. They will tell you what you need to change in your life to be healthier. This kind of service will be included in the products. 
What are the main benefits for Mongolians using your services?
You get treatment faster, you get to spend more time with your daughter, you get better diagnostic services, better facilities, you can get treated in the best hospitals abroad if you want to. We’ve met a lot of people who told us they went to Korea, to Inner Mongolia, to Germany, Bangkok, Singapore, to get treated, because for whatever reason they prefer to do that. It’s a good opportunity for Mongolia to acquire the kind of products used everywhere else in the region.

Stock exchange weekly
By B. Khuder
Ulaanbaatar, October 24 (MONTSAME) Five stock trades were held at Mongolia's Stock Exchange on October 20-24 of 2014. In overall, 143 thousand and 758 shares were sold of 35 joint-stock companies totaling MNT 258 million 890 thousand and 691.20.
"Hai Bi Oil” /57 thousand and 810 units/, "Mongolian Development National Corp” /44 thousand and 886 units/, "E-trans logistics” /21 thousand and 719 units/, "Mongolia Telecom” /4,818 units/ and "Tavantolgoi” /2,868 units/ were the most actively traded in terms of trading volume, in terms of trading value--"Mongolian Development National Corp” (MNT 157 million and 101 thousand), "Hai Bi Oil” (MNT 22 million 603 thousand and 800), "Talkh chikher” /MNT 18 million and 400 thousand/, "Tavantolgoi” /MNT 14 million 321 thousand and 300/ and "Sharyn gol” (MNT 13 million 875 thousand and 800).

Stock exchange news for October 24
By B. Khuder
Ulaanbaatar, October 24 (MONTSAME) At the Stock Exchange trades on Friday, a total of 5,246 shares of 22 JSCs were traded costing MNT 13 million 171 thousand and 472.20.
"E-trans logistics” /2,000 units/, “Hermes center” /1,000 units/, “Khokh gan” /510 units/, “Genco tour bureau” /496 units/ and "Talkh chikher” /247 units/ were the most actively traded in terms of trading volume, in terms of trading value were "Talkh chikher” (MNT four million and 940 thousand), "Bayangol hotel” (MNT three million and 120 thousand), “Darkhan nekhii” (MNT one million and 850 thousand), "Gobi” (MNT one million and 656 thousand) and "APU” (MNT 353 thousand and 400).
The total market capitalization was set at MNT one trillion 556 billion 903 million 936 thousand and 890. The Index of Top-20 JSCs was 15,513.93, decreasing 63.02 units or 0.40% against the previous day.

Teenagers to partake in 10x10 Draughts World Championship
By B. Amarsaikhan
Ulaanbaatar, October 24 (MONTSAME) Our teenage draught players are to leave Ulaanbaatar on October 25 to attend the World Junior Champioship. The events will run in Tallinn of Estonia on October 26–November 1. 
Mongolia sends national team of 12 players, including under-age-of-10 boys E.Uilstogoldor, B.Sukhbat, G.Togoldor, girls B.Onorjargal, L.Nadmid, B.Monkhjin, and age-of-11-13 boys M.Luvsandorj, S.Monkh-Orgil, Ts.Chinzorig, and girls G.Duurenbileg, S.Enkhtuvshin, E.Margad.

Rare photographs of Ulaanbaatar to be exhibited
By B. Amarsaikhan
Ulaanbaatar, October 24 (MONTSAME) On the 375th “birthday” of the capital city to happen on October 29, many actions will take place. Among them will be an exhibition of photographs delivered from a house-museum of XX century's Russian scientist and Mongolist P.K.Kozlov. 
The scientist who lived and worked here in the beginning of the 20th century, possessed rare and unique photographs of Ulaanbaatar.
This exhibition will undoubtedly attract a great interest of the city people.

Anonymous text messages sent to parliamentarians
By Ch. Khaliun
October 26 (UB Post) After adopting a parliamentary draft resolution on measures for ensuring the realization of state policy on railway transportation, MPs and media focused on a scandal involving “flying messages”, anonymous SMS texts sent with political messages.
During the session on Friday, MP A.Bakei announced that there were some problems with telecommunications. He said that his ward members received rude messages from his number regarding the issue of railway transportation. “This is violating human rights, the rights of a legislator”, he added.
Speaker Z.Enkhbold added, “I received an SMS message from my own number. I tasked B.Ariunsan from the General Intelligence Agency (GIA) to investigate the issue, because it is a serious problem if it’s possible to send messages acting as someone else.”
MP D.Gankhuyag added that he also received over one thousand messages since Thursday evening, reading, “Please vote 1. Chip borders with Chinese gauge, 2. Pledge Mongolia by Bank of China, 3. Sell our land to foreigners for 100 years.”
Messages with provocative content were sent to voters using MPs names and numbers, surprising and irritating message recipients.
On Friday, PM N.Altankhuyag, Parliamentarian Special Sub-Committee Chairman G.Batkhuu and Chairman of the Cabinet Secretariat Ch.Saikhanbileg made statements regarding this incident.
They reported that, MobiCom and Unitel tried to stop these messages, but people are still receiving them, so the companies sent messages to consumers warning them to be careful about the provocative messages.
PM N.Altankhuyag announced that he tasked the authorities of the GIA, police, relevant legal institutions, the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission, MobiCom and Unitel to stop the messages and quickly find out where they were sent from and who was behind them.
The Executive Director of MobiCom Corp., David Holliday, and Vice-Director M.Enkhsaikhan spoke to the press regarding the issue.
MobiCom networking experts found that the anonymous SMS messages were sent from Romanian mobile phone network operator Vodafone, but messages sent by Unitel’s numbers were sent from Malta. Currently, all telecommunications data from Malta and Romania to Mongolia have been restricted.
David Holliday said that the illegal action with political intentions might have occurred by using faults in cell phone networks in Romania and Malta and computer programs rerouting the calls through Mongolian numbers.
It was clarified that the messages were sent using 20 Mongolian telephone numbers, but it is not yet clear how many people received the messages. Engineers are working to determine what Romanian Vodafone number was used to send the messages and if they used Mongolian SIM cards or other devices.
MobiCom did not accept the blame for the sending of messages and explained that the incident is similar to identity theft.

GIA reports that fake DP-MPRP ‘secret’ treaty generated by MPP
By Ch. Khaliun
October 26 (UB Post) The General Intelligence Agency (GIA) reported that the “secret” treaty publicized and said to have been established between the Democratic Party (DP) and Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party (MPRP) was generated by members of the Mongolian People’s Party (MPP).
The recent cooperation treaty established between the DP and MPRP has been controversial, with special concern arising over information about a “secret treaty” or appendix to the agreement. Head of the DP N.Altankhuyag made a statement last week claiming that the “secret treaty” did not exist and he would be pursuing an investigation of libel.
Chairman of Public Affairs of the GIA, J.Buyandalai, confirmed in a press conference that a GIA investigation revealed that the secret treaty reported to have been established between the DP and MPRP was fake.
The GIA investigation suggests that the document was generated by the Chairman in Charge of the Media and Public Relations department of the MPP, N.Demberel and other party officials. The investigation is ongoing.
After the press conference given by the GIA, the MPP made a public statement at the State Palace.
The MPP’s Secretary-General, T.Gantulga, and attorney Radnaased participated in the press conference, saying, “On October 22, around 1:00 a.m investigators entered the MPP’s central office and took the computer’s hard drive. They investigated press agents of the MPP. The GIA is libeling people, it’s not a private investigation bureau.”
They cited information from the report made by J.Buyandalai and said, “the above mentioned N.Demberel was working as the MPP’s Head of Secretariat, but he was removed from the position.”
An un-official source reports that N.Demberel delivered his work on Thursday.
MPP representatives state that the “secret” treaty was not created by its party. Moreover, they announced that the MPP will appeal to prosecutors and law enforcement for the publishing of libel against the MPP. spoke with MPP Secretary-General T.Gantulga about the report.
Did your press agent report to the GIA that the secret treaty was made by the MPP?
These are political orders. The GIA’s investigators entered the MPP’s headquarters without permission and confiscated the computer’s hard drive. Moreover, they lied to the contract worker and took him to the GIA for interrogation. They also raided the press official’s house and searched the property for many hours, but they didn’t take any testimony from N.Demberel or any of the MPP’s authorities. The investigators even told the contract worker to not say anything to the party’s authorities.
When and why did N.Demberel resign?
He left his job at his own request. This is a human rights issue. It raises our suspicion that the investigators didn’t take any testimony from him. The GIA is an organization investigating crime, but not the private investigation bureau of N.Altankhuyag. This is because the Head of the GIA is un-professional. According to the law, only cases which can’t be delayed may be investigated in the middle of the night.

Designated book marketplace made available for booksellers
By M. Zoljargal
October 26 (UB Post) A new building for book retailers opened last Friday, designated for previously scattered bookselling stalls next to Lion Bridge.
The booksellers used to operate in sub-standard conditions, until last year, when their businesses were temporarily halted by Ulaanbaatar administrators, awaiting the opening of the new building.
Ulaanbaatar City Governor E.Bat-Uul provided 128 million MNT from the city budget for the building’s construction completed by a domestic company.
The building is 36 meters long and nine meters wide with 57 stalls. It was connected to central heating, water and electricity network lines five times faster than average, according to plans by the project’s Mongolian engineer.
A lighting system has been fully set up around the building, and shelving allows for standard book storage as well as retail conditions for the benefit of booksellers and customers.
About 50 booksellers will resume their retail businesses in the building this week without paying any rental fees. They will be charged for only water, heating and electricity costs.

D.Battogtokh: SME owners would create stable economic growth
By B. Mendbayar
October 26 (UB Post) The Government has paid substantial attention to supporting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) for the past few years, as a key factor in creating a stronger and more diversified economy.
Below is an interview with the Director of Department for Development of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises in the Ministry of Labor, D.Battogtokh, about state policy on supporting SMEs in the coming years.
Let’s start our interview with the current outlook of the SME sector.
The New Government for Change has been primarily adhering to the policy of supporting SMEs in order to increase stable jobs. In order to balance the labor market and increase proper employment, policy measures such as supporting sectors with large workforce absorption capacities and increasing the quality of the workforce have been taken. As of the second quarter of 2014, about 52,000 companies have been actively operating; 47,560 of which, or 90.38 percent, are SMEs, according to our department’s estimate. Compared to the same period of the previous year, the number has increased considerably.
The SME sector accounts for about 70 percent of the total Mongolian workforce. In other words, 760,000 of the economically active 1,100,000 residents are either owning or working in the sector. Developing SMEs poses several advantages to a nation, including creating lots of jobs, increasing the diversity of economic structure, and making it less prone to economic crisis.
How does the Ministry of Labor support SME owners? What policies does the ministry adhere to?
The SME support policy, SME Support Program Through 2014-2016, has been accurate. It can be said that policy had been abandoned since 2010. We included a simple objective to “increase employment through creating economic growth by improving the competency of SMEs” in the SME Support Program approved by the government.
Generally, we support SME owners, both financially and non-financially. Soft loans, loan collateral guarantees, and financial lending services are included in the financial support. While, non-financial support means creating a favorable legal environment and focusing on improving the skills of SME owners and employees.
In other words, rendering SME owners capable of determining goals and objectives, creating business plans, operating in accordance with those plans, and providing a solid understanding of the legal environment and technology, are included in the non-financial support.
What objectives did you set as a means to realize the goals of the SME Support Program?
We cooperated with international experts, advisors, researches and analysts and formulated the program in order to initiate and gain approval for the SME Support Program Through 2014-2016.
Several positive factors were observed as result of the numerous research and environmental assessments we conducted. For instance, an active movement directed towards manufacturing arose within the market, international donor organizations started supporting our endeavors to improve business capacity, and management consulting services are prevailing in Mongolia.
Besides, I also ought to mention the fact that there are several deficiencies, such as a scarcity of financial services, weak strategic planning and lack of knowledge for running business. In addition, there are many shortcomings, including excessive competition in the domestic market, a scarcity of new ideas and innovations, and weak export and transportation conditions. Based on these and other environmental assessments and research, we set six objectives:
-  To improve the legal environment
-  To develop by cluster
-  To develop research and innovation
-  To invigorate SMEs
-  To increase the amount and abundance of financial resources
-  To support them to expand their markets
There is a prevailing complaint among SME owners that they fail to run their business as planned because loans are not granted in the amount they request.
That’s an issue related to financial support. Funding for the SME Support Program was increased by 150 billion MNT in 2011, 50 billion MNT in 2013 and 100 billion MNT this year. In general, loans of more than 100 million MNT at the district and province level, and of more than 200 million MNT at the city level, was granted from the SME Support Fund. Loans of less than these amounts are approved by vice councils. The councils are headed by district governors and have structure of odd numbers encompassing resident representatives and labor departments. We don’t always adhere to the policy of reducing the amount of the loans business owners have requested. However, there are cases where commercial banks reduce the amount of the loans supported by the councils and vice councils upon issuing the loans due to a shortage of collateral and low production profit.
Certain financial resources from the Chinggis Bond are provided through the SME Support Fund. Can you elaborate on this?
The 2014 Government Resolution No. 176 was ratified to issue 100 billion MNT through the SME Support Fund for financing SME support, export promotion and import substitution projects of less than two billion MNT. In the frameworks of the resolution, 28.2 billion MNT of the resource is allocated for financing micro-businesses and SMEs in provinces, and the rest for other projects. As of today, 284 project implementing companies and individuals have received financing of about 73 billion MNT.
How are all these objectives connected to the labor market?
The main sector that supports the demand of the labor market is SMEs. Because this sector has a large workforce absorption capacity. In the framework of policy on employment, the Ministry of Labor has been especially focusing on creating jobs and invigorating the workforce. The National Vocation Program that prepares employees for positions requested by employers in a short period of time, through technical and vocational education and training, can be mentioned here. The program is significant, as it balances the demand and supply of the labor market and decreases unemployment.

Ch.Khashchuluun: Oil shale can attract investments equivalent to that of Oyu Tolgoi’s
October 26 (UB Post) Executive Director of the Mongolia Oil Shale Association (MOSA) and distinguished economist Ch.Khashchuluun gave an interview about Mongolia’s oil shale opportunities and potentials to grow.
Mongolia’s total oil shale reserve is estimated to be 700 billion tons. Is it accurate? Does Mongolia have internationally approved oil shale mines?
The 700 billion tons of reserve is a pre-estimation calculated after four researches. Several works are being done for clarification. Foreign and domestic companies are actively exploring in central and eastern regions. Since legislations were approved just before Naadam Festival, exploration work is gaining momentum now. The pre-estimation will become an accurate number if exploration work is intensified from all sides in the future. This number is reasonable to a certain degree as the government researched oil shale reserve in the 1980’s through special programs. There are two technologies for utilizing oil shale. One digs up a big hole like coal mining. The other is a suction technology used to extract liquid oil shade, similar to crude oil mining.
Currently, verifying work for whether technologies are compatible, whether resource amount is able to reach investment amounts and etc. are being executed. Exploration intensified a bit in the last two years. Related law approvals became the gateway. I’m confident that Mongolia will reach certain outcomes through exploration. The MOSA is planning to do a survey nationally in Mongolia but no explorations. We discussed the integration of previous exploration work results with the Petroleum Authority of Mongolia. We can present it to the public if the government provides financial support. This will become a huge advance for attracting investors. The U.S. government studies world oil shale reserves annually. Two of Mongolia’s reserves were recognized by them, namely one in Dornogovi Province and another in Dornod Province. Mongolian geologists are aware of reserves in Tuv, Khentii, Dornogovi, Dundgovi and Uvurkhangai Provinces. Dual exploration work has just begun.
Currently, which companies are interested in investing?
For oil shale, representative of France and the world’s largest oil and gas company, Total S.A, have met and negotiated with Mongolia’s Ministry of Mining several times. They expressed their interest to do a national oil shale study; basically to do exploration.
Genie Oil has reached stages for exploration work. Mongolian companies are also doing explorations. Khuut deposit was recognized to have considerable amounts of reserves and was considered feasible for extraction. Western companies are interested in finding new deposits. Russian and Estonian businesses came to Mongolia and conveyed interests to cooperate on oil shale matters.
Russia has been using oil shale since 1940 so they have excellent technologies and information. Russia was able to research Mongolian reserves very well in the 1940’s. Estonia is rich in experience since they operate four power stations with oil shale. Since Mongolia has a lot of coal, we don’t give much credit to oil shale but we should learn from Estonia’s practice. We can’t deny that it may be more productive and affordable. Genie Oil’s technologies are more advantageous for petroleum and diesel production instead of oil shale. Their pilot plants are located in Israel and America. Associated Mongolian experts and officials and the Ministry of Mining probably visited the sites. Overall, Mongolia’s getting many new opportunities. World countries started focusing on oil shale. China announced support of oil shale exploration and production. Mongolia even established a national institute for this sector.
Genie Oil commented that oil from Mongolia’s oil shale is as good as Arabian oil. Internationally, how good is Mongolian shale oil quality?
Oil shale is a material similar to raw coal. The quality is assessed with the chemical product percentage ratio of soil and oil. A study was done for Khuut deposit and concluded to build a plant. Mongolian companies are interested in conducting this work. Genie Oil is highlighting outputs that contain petroleum product. Laboratory studies proved the deposit has high quality oil shale. Liquid parts are processed into petroleum and a bit heavier parts into diesel fuel. Experts said cars turn on immediately when heavier parts are infused. It seems that something amazing is about to happen.
At the international investors’ forum Oil and Oil Shale Mongolia 2014, held in Ulaanbaatar, many people highlighted oil shale as the most attractive sector for investors. Exactly how much investment can Mongolia get?
Investors said that it’s possible to attract three to four billion USD, meaning it’s possible to get investments equivalent to the amount of Oyu Tolgoi’s. Before pulling foreign investments, we must consider what product would come out of oil shale. Price of fuel imported from foreign countries cost almost a billion USD. Certain amount of this money can be kept in the country by utilizing oil shale. The second advantage is that it’s a comparatively environment-friendly method. It doesn’t need big pits and there will not be explosions. It will not be burnt after getting it above the surface. Thirdly, the nature will remain in its untouched state even when oil shale is used. Production will be done under 300 to 400 meters below the ground.
Since there is abundant oil shale reserve, it can be used for various usages. Germans use it for materials used for building roofs. Mongolia can do the same. How oil shale is used depends on the private sector and government policy. It’s possible to use it to operate power stations, make construction materials, or for fuel production. Mongolians throw away oil shale as garbage. There’s a big pile of it beside Baganuur mine. That pile should be used for something beneficial. Mongolia should work towards providing fuel domestically. This will save an immense amount of money.
Oyu Tolgoi’s investment is said to be four billion USD. Mongolia imports fuel costing a billion USD annually. If oil shale is used as fuel, Mongolia will save more money than Oyu Tolgoi’s investment within five years.
Are there any legislation issues for countries interested in investing in oil shale?
Investors are being careful. Since last year, the investment environment for mining sector has been improving. Two major laws were approved. First is the Petroleum Law. Every issue including how every type of energy source can be used, who can use it, and what will be monitored are specifically stated. Investors are able to know who they need to address, what procedures to follow for permission, and in what conditions permissions aren’t granted. This is a big advantage.
The second is the Investment Law. After discovering a deposit, you can mine it. Working conditions and tax environment has become specific. There are two articles investors are cautious on. In the article on royalty payment, it states five to 15 percent. It isn’t clearly defined.
Are there any issues for selling fuel?
Sales are facing a set of issues. It’s given that domestic fuel production will be supported with government policy for coal liquefaction, coal gasification and oil shale production. The uncertainty lies on what would happen if prices of petroleum and diesel coming in from foreign countries suddenly drop when Mongolia decides to sell [petroleum]. The state gets tons of things done after giving specific orders and large sum of funding. Later, they encounter issues concerning countermeasures if petroleum product prices suddenly dropped. This is a strong factor creating vague conditions for investors. The current price increase isn’t good for the fuel sector. If prices decrease unreasonably it will become challenging for investors to estimate project revenue.
The Central Bank of Mongolia is executing the fuel price stabilization program. Some aspects are skeptical. A positive point is that it’s stabilizing fuel price. If fuel price hadn’t been stabilized, inflation would’ve reached 20 to 30 percent by now. It’s crucial to continue preventing fuel price increase and keep it stable. In such circumstances, it’ll be possible to make investment estimations and calculate its revenue. This condition will widen investment opportunities.
You mentioned about actively working on using American and Chinese oil shale. Estonia burns its oil shale for energy and makes considerable revenue from oil shale exportation. Which other countries are focused on oil shale?
Looking at the global approach, developing countries are making a lot of investments into oil shale. For example, Egypt and Jordan. Lately, Egypt has been working intensively on licensing oil shale deposits and establishing Use Agreements. Particularly, Arabian countries are paying a lot of attention to oil shale. Saudi Arabia is the world’s dominant oil exporting country. They granted the first two oil shale licenses. They’ve begun allocating deposit fields. Oil reserves are nearing depletion. It’s said that reserves will completely exhaust in 20 to 30 years. In response, these countries are trying to use oil shale. Egypt and Jordan originally don’t have oil reserves. Israel has exceptional oil shale technologies and is beginning to build industries. The U.S. is utilizing oil shale and is working towards stopping oil shale exports by 2020. They’ve announced to completely supply fuel domestically. Poland and Germany has been contributing greatly to oil shale production and use since the 1940s. Estonia is a small country like Mongolia. Even so, it produces four times more energy than Mongolia. They produce energy with oil shale.
Mongolia has massive amount of oil shale reserves. We are gradually working towards using oil shale development. Compared to two years ago, that understanding about oil shale has flourished considerably. Compared to a year ago, legislations have been adopted and legal environment has opened. At this rate, possibly in a few years, Mongolia will use petroleum and diesel produced from oil shale and no longer fear of running out of fuel.

Mongolia secures first ever international woodball medals
By M. Zoljargal
October 26 (UB Post) Mongolian woodball players won two bronze medals at the 4th International University Woodball Championship 2014, the first ever medals for Mongolia from the sport.
Woodball player E.Enkhtuvshin won the medal in the fairway competition in the ladies single event on October 22. She competed against 13 other players and qualified to the quarterfinals after beating a Taiwanese player in the preliminaries.
She had a bye in the quarterfinals and advanced to the semi-finals where she lost the match to Thailand’s Jiraporn Chinpukdee.
E.Enkhtuvshin ranked 15th in the stroke competition in the ladies single with 240 points, which she earned at 48 fairways, showing the finest results among her fellow Mongolian players.
The bronze medalist was crowned the 2014 State Woodball Champion prior to the international championship.
The other Mongolian bronze medal winners were G.Batbuyan and Sh.Batjargal who competed in the fairway competition in the men’s doubles.
They beat Thailand in the preliminaries and played against Bangladesh in the quarterfinals which ended with a victory for Mongolia.
In the semi-finals, G.Batbuyan and Sh.Batjargal were defeated by Hong Kong’s players.
Another Mongolian men’s double, Ts.Baasanjargal and D.Davaadorj, participated in the men’s doubles. However, they lost their preliminary match.
The championship was held from October 21 to 26 in Perlis, Malaysia. More than 200 woodball players from 12 Asian countries competed in the championship in single, team, and mixed categories for 32 medals.
The Mongolian team arrived in Perlis a week before the championship and had joint trainings with other teams.
Taiwan, Thailand and Uganda previously hosted the championships.

Books on Ulaanbaatar launch
By B. Tungalag
October 26 (UB Post) On the occasion of the 375th anniversary of Ulaanbaatar, a ceremony for the release of the books “Capital of Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar”, “Development History of Ulaanbaatar”, “Night in Ulaanbaatar” and “Heart of the Country” took place at the Blue Moon Art Gallery on October 23.
Chairman of City Council D.Battulga, Ulaanbaatar Mayor E.Bat-Uul, Head of the Office of the Ulaanbaatar Governor Yo.Gerelchuluun, and book publishers People’s Poet P.Badarch and People’s Poet Sh.Dulmaa participated in the ceremony.
“Capital of Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar” will illustrate a chronicle of Ulaanbaatar’s history. “Development History of Ulaanbaatar” will feature photographs of Ulaanbaatar’s construction and development from 1639 to 2014. “Heart of the Country” consists of poetries which compliment Ulaanbaatar by famous poets. “Night in Ulaanbaatar” shows night-time photographs of Ulaanbaatar.
During the launch ceremony, Chairman of City Council D.Battulga said, “I am very glad that artists and poets made these creations for the 375th anniversary of Ulaanbaatar. Everyone must know the history of Ulaanbaatar like they know the history of Mongolia. Today’s event is not about selling books. It is about knowing the history of Ulaanbaatar and to love the city.”

Minister of Health reviews Ebola preparedness during ‘30 Minutes with the Prime Minister’
October 26 (UB Post) The Minister of Health, N.Udval, spoke at the “30 Minutes with the Prime Minister” about what measures are being taken in Mongolia to address the global spread of the Ebola virus.
She said that over 10,000 cases of Ebola have been reported in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Senegal, Spain and the U.S., as of October 19, and more than half of those infected with the virus have died.
The World Health Organization (WHO) announced that 443 doctors and hospital workers have been infected, and unfortunately, half of them have died.
The symptoms of Ebola can be a sudden onset of fever, fatigue, muscle pain, headache, and sore throat, followed by vomiting, diarrhea, rash and external and internal bleeding. It is transmitted through infected saliva, blood and semen making contact with broken skin or mucous membrane. N.Udval added that the latency period is 21 days and the virus lives in the human body but can’t withstand cold air. It can still live in a patient’s body even after recovery.
The Minister of Health reported that Mongolia is prepared for disease prevention and treatment in the case that the Ebola virus arrives in Mongolia, with 477 million MNT from the Parliament and 160 million MNT from WHO budgeted.
Medical training for hospital workers and the examination of legal entrants to Mongolia has begun, and a 50-bed hospital wing has been prepared at the National Trauma and Orthopedic Research Center. A month-long supply of blood has been reserved for the wing.
The Minister of Health emphasized that Mongolia is putting visa restrictions on travelers from some countries with cases of Ebola, and the most important thing is to prevent the virus from spreading in Mongolia and to be ready for treatment if cases should arise.
During her appearance on “30 Minutes with the Prime Minister” she also introduced big investments made in the health sector.
Mongolian hospitals, including the National Trauma and Orthopedic Research Center, installed new radiation therapy equipment. This equipment displays how much treatment is required for a patient, as well as to which part of the body. It decreases the negative effects of radiation treatment on other healthy organs.
Investments were also made in improving hemodialysis treatment and organ transplants.
N.Udval, the Minister of Health answered journalist’s questions.
Lately, people seem to prefer traditional treatment. What is the Ministry of Health doing about this issue?
It is true that the policy for traditional treatment is unbalanced, because the traditional hospitals were privatized. It is definitely one of the problems facing this sector, so we are going to discuss this issue during the parliamentary meeting. It is necessary to oversee traditional treatments as a part of state policy because the prices of these treatments are reasonable, as well as effective.
People are dying because of doctor error in surgery. What measures are being taken against this?
The Ministry of Health is taking measures and has started registering cases of careless operations. Currently, charging doctors with responsibility covers only reminders, salary deductions and terminating their professional licenses.
When will the new maternity hospital in Yarmag be open?
Construction was temporary halted due to lack of funding. The working group under the Ministry of Health discussed this issue with the Parliament and the Standing Committee on Social Policy, but we could not resolve this issue. The Minister of Finance is leading an internal working group to resolve the construction issue. We suggested finishing the building through concessions, but it has not been supported yet.
Source: Undesnii Shuudan

On a rudderless ship
By D. Jargalsaikhan
October 26 (UB Post) American Nobel Laureate of Russian descent, Vasiliy Leontiev once compared the market economy to a ship, with government regulation as a rudder and human initiative and activity as the sails. If so, then 20 years after choosing the path of a market economy, Mongolia has lost its rudder and is now like a little ship being tossed about on great ocean waves.
The Mongolian economy has slowed dramatically, inflation has risen to 15 percent, and the budget deficit has reached 10 percent of the economy. There are foreign trade deficits, the inflow of foreign capital has nearly stopped, the MNT exchange rate has fallen by 30 percent, the public debt has reached 65 percent of the economy, and the amount of nonperforming and overdue loans in the banking sector have reached one trillion MNT.
With macro-economic conditions at this level and an economic crisis looming, instead of implementing policies to increase private sector initiative and expand the tax base, the Prime Minister’s proposal to restructure the Government is not only untimely, but it also draws the economic crisis closer, for it upsets several fragile balances. The internal power “wounds” of the Democratic Party were reopened due to his attempts to keep his post as the Prime Minister by making agreements with anyone, and any party, and finalizing the terms and responsibilities of the agreements. The double crisis of economics and governance is starting.
The capabilities of the elected political parties coming to Mongolian political power are weak. This is related, to an extent, with the practice of evaluating individual, rather than political party factors, during elections. Thus, five to ten percent of Parliament seats are taken by independents, and when the parties are tied during vital decisions, these seats can have a significant impact.
The political parties have been unable to determine their fundamental ideologies and policies, such as the state’s participation in the economy. Because there is no real difference between the ideologies of the parties, they all spread populist policies and widespread social welfare and decrease the competitiveness of the private sector, bringing the crisis closer. Due to the lack of clear concepts and operational principles, there is no internal unity or discipline within the parties and parties are slitting into factions based on mutual self-interest.
Also, with multiple parties joining to create a coalition government there is a patchwork of members, and the restructuring of the Government – for any small reason – makes it difficult for government agencies to stabilize and fulfill their main duties with people changing so often.
To make matters worse, the people who reach positions of authority are poorly educated, and lack morals and leadership skills. They use their positions and authority for their own personal gain by appointing their relatives to government positions, using public funds illegally, and perpetrating the pattern of corruption.
Changing the Government structure, composition, or the Prime Minister today won’t change public governance principles. Nothing will change until the current underlying issues of “double deels” in government are solved, the election commission is reformed by establishing a voter’s commission, the accurate financial statements of political parties and elections are released, and the parties holding seats in Parliament are funded by the public budget. Therefore, the current Parliament has to pass laws that can address and solve these issues, and probably conduct a new election.
Political parties need to define their ideologies and policies, strengthen their internal discipline, appoint their leaders with great care, set in place management that puts the public interest over theirs – based on dignity and principles, and fill the ranks with educated personnel. If we cannot achieve these changes, then there is a real need for a brand new, clean political power to rise from the younger generation.
Afterwards, we need to employ honest, highly qualified personnel in the public sector through a recruitment process based on talent and capability, and provide professional training, competitive salaries, and facilities. Only then, will conditions necessary for conducting long-term public forums regarding social and economic issues, reaching realistic, accepted decisions, and implementing them be constituted.
Within the economic scope, policies to discontinue state participation in business, change state owned enterprises to joint stock companies, support competition within the private sector, and promote labor productivity by getting rid of price regulations from the government need to be implemented. In order to develop the capital markets, we need to make social security activities (as well as healthcare and other insurance funds) transparent, allow a certain amount to be used to purchase stocks, and collaborate with professional management teams to run operations.
The board of directors of all publically owned universities, schools, and hospitals need to be given management rights to select their executive directors and evaluate their work.
A decision to have state officials report their annual income and expenditure statements, asset declarations, as well as activities and discussions they had been involved in during their overseas trips should be made.
Only then, will the lost ship finally gain its own control. The sails will fill with the hard work, energy, and commitments of the people, and by traveling in the direction we choose, the living standards of Mongolians will rise.
Translated by G.Munkh-Ariun

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