Saturday, December 27, 2014

Mongolia Brief December 23, 2014 Part III



O.Nasanburmaa receives three-room apartment
By B. Khuder
Ulaanbaatar, December 23 (MONTSAME) A State Honored Sportswoman O.Nasanburmaa has been awarded with a three-room apartment for her sport success, grabbing third medal from the FILA Wrestling World Championships.

A key to the apartment was granted Tuesday by Kh.Bat-Erdene, a vice president of Mongolia’s Freestyle Wrestling Federation and director of the “Altai Construction” company.

Mongolia and the Czech Republic expand relations
December 23 (news.mn) New Minister of Food and Agriculture R.Burmaa met Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Czech Republic to Mongolia Ivana Grollov to discuss the expansion of relations between the two nations.
Minister R.Burmaa noted that bilateral relations and cooperation between Mongolia and the Czech Republic have seen a boost and success in multiple fields in the past two years, since GrollovŠ± has been appointed as ambassador, and was thankful that Mongolia-Czech bilateral cooperation under an intergovernmental commission focused on animal husbandry has advanced.
Ambassador GrollovŠ± said that the government of the Czech Republic has successfully conducted agricultural and animal husbandry projects in Mongolia and private sector projects in collaboration with Altan Taria, Vitsamo, and Talkh Chiher, and expressed thanks for the efforts of the Government of Mongolia.
The parties agreed to work together closely, focusing on project completion and promotion and maintaining project results from both sides.

Athletes will be bestowed with State Merit
December 23 (news.mn) President of Mongolia Ts.Elbegdorj will present Mongolia's top athletes with awards on the 103rd anniversary of the Restoration of National Liberty and Independence Day on December 24th.
The athletes nominated for the state awards are 2014 World Judo Champion G.Boldbaatar, 2014 United World Freestyle Wresting World Championship gold medalist S.Tserenchimed, and Bronze medalist of the 2012 London Olympics S.Nyam-Ochir.
National female judo team coach Sh.Tsevelmaa, and national freestyle wrestling team coach Ts.Khosbayar will both be awarded the title of State Merit Coach.

Ulaanbaatar Municipality Authorized to Regulate Working Hours of State Entities in Capital City
December 23 (infomongolia.com) In 2012, the Government of Mongolia issued a Decree by amending working hours of all state entities in Ulaanbaatar to start at 8 o’clock in the morning and finish at 05:00 pm.
Also, all secondary schools and kindergartens have been starting at 8 o’clock as well as Universities and Institutes at 09:00 am in order to decrease traffic flow on the city road.
Since the implementation of this regulation, the Capital City Citizens’ Representative Khural (City Council) has requested to make flexible schedule and thus, at the latter Cabinet meeting, members authorized the City Council to regulate starting and finishing working hours of state and public entities locate in Ulaanbaatar.

Over 950 million MNT budgeted for Mongolia’s three millionth citizens
By D. Sergelen
December 24 (UB Post) The Mongolian government resolved to award and recognize the three millionth citizens of Mongolia on January 4, 2014, with awards and benefits valued at more than 950 million MNT.
The National Statistical Office of Mongolia estimates that the three millionth citizens will be born in January 2015.
Provinces and district will each identify one contemporary baby born in their presiding area close to the time the three millionth citizen is born in Ulaanbaatar.
The three millionth citizens of Mongolia will be awarded an apartment or monetary rewards equivalent to 70 million MNT and contemporary babies will be issued three million MNT. In total, 958 million MNT will be spent from the government reserve fund. The governors of 21 provinces and nine districts are responsible for issuing an apartment to the children selected as contemporaries of the three millionth citizen.

Minister of Finance J.Erdenebat: ‘It might take 4 to 5 years to lower debt to 40 percent of GDP’
By Ch. Khaliun
December 24 (UB Post) News.mn spoke with Minister of Finance J.Erdenebat about the current economic situation, solutions, and future plans of the ministry to overcome the economic crisis.
The Mongolian People’s Party (MPP) opposed increasing the debt ceiling, but there are rumors that the debt ceiling will be increased. Could you give our readers an official explanation?
I didn’t say that the debt ceiling will be increased. As for the preliminary data, the debt ceiling is 49.9 percent, which means that it has already exceeded its limit according to the law on budget sustainability. And it might reach 53 percent by the end of this year, because of the changes in exchange rates and interest rates. The MPP is trying hard to avoid increasing the debt ceiling. We have to find solutions on better debt management, and policy to reduce debt to 40 percent of GDP. But now the debt ceiling has exceeded 50 percent, so it might take some time to lower it. It might take four to five years. As of today, it’s impossible to lower the debt ceiling to 40 percent to suit the law.
Is a decrease possible next year?
The current state budget is to be approved with seven trillion MNT. If we want to reduce it to 40 percent of GDP, we will have to cut two trillion MNT to meet legal requirements. In order to do this we will have to repay commercial bonds and commercial loans.
We have to improve debt management and change debt structure. Up until now, we have been paying debt through high interest commercial loans and we also took on high-cost bonds from foreign countries. In this situation, the service costs increase. We are discussing the possibility of changing these loans to long-term concessional loans.
Some parliamentarians believe that if we don’t take more money from overseas, the economic situation will get worse, while others believe that the most important thing is to not add to the nation’s debt. How do parliamentarians see this issue inside the government?
People are expressing various positions, but we have to seek all possible opportunities. For example, we should increase the resources of the credit guarantee fund and create an investment fund. Projects and programs are being funded mainly through commercial loans. We can change loan conditions to mitigate the service expenditures. Instead, we can invest through long-term, low interest loans. We could involve investment organizations in these efforts.
Some people say that it’s possible to transfer debt to private sector projects implemented through bonds and release bond investment. Do you think it’s possible, as the Minister of Finance?
Yes, some people believe this is possible, but it’s not, because we can’t transfer these loans. If so, the private sector would demand a government guarantee, but there are solutions available without government guarantees. We are studying all possible solutions. The MPP strictly stands against amending the law on budget sustainability, because of the debt ceiling and budget deficit. However, the law is already being violated, so we have to make plans to fix it as soon as possible.
Can you say how long it will take to survive the economic crisis?
We are processing debt management. We will be able to repay loans within their terms, if we can improve the economy. After three or four years, we will see the possibility of mitigating debt to 40 percent of GDP. First of all, it’s important not to increase the economic growth, but of course, we will try to decrease the debt within a year or two to follow the law.

Meeting in China stresses road development
December 24 (UB Post) A dialogue between Mongolia and China concluded last week in Beijing, China to underscore effective cooperation.
Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Mongolia a few months ago and developed complex strategic relations between the two countries and expressed his willingness to extend friendly relations and cooperation.
The dialogue was organized by the Peace and Friendship Organization of Mongolia and Chinese People’s Association for International Society Exchanges, and focused on the following topics: Strengthening friendly relations and establishing the Silk Road; Participation and responsibilities of Mongolia and China in the development complex strategy relations; and Mutually beneficial cooperation chances of establishing the Silk Road.
Silk Road to open in six months
A recent survey showed that the population of Mongolia, Russia and China occupies 21 percent of the world population. It is a big market that is highly possible to extend trade and economy. Mongolian geographical position gives a possibility to connect these big markets. Moreover, Mongolia has the potential to connect the two great markets.
Since the Hunnu Empire, the Silk Road was the connective path for tea trade.
Even though China and Russia have trade roads that reach some European countries, it is quite costly to conduct trade. For example, it takes 40 to 50 days to deliver products from China to Russia. But, if trade is conducted throughout Mongolian territory, only a week is required to transport goods.
Therefore, Mongolia plan to build three roads that connect the Silk Road. The road from Ulaanbaatar – Erenhot – Altanbulag checkpoint is being discussed and the road through Khovd Province is at 80 percent completion. The completion of these roads are expected to connect the Silk Road, which is estimated to require six months.
Experts believe that the establishment of these roads will drastically boost the economy.
During the dialogue, delegates proposed to involve experts and personnel from both countries in the development project.
Mongolia benefits from cooperation
The Chinese party expressed their willingness to cooperate in any sector Mongolia wishes.
It was noted that the Chinese part is paying significant attention to the dialogue. The Chinese delegation included decision makers, heads of regions, research workers and businesses. In contrast, there were no decision makers from Mongolia at the dialogue.
A Chinese petroleum exploring company, airport construction company and road companies presented their activities to Mongolian delegates and expressed their interest in cooperation. They proposed to assist Mongolia in short-term projects that will have impact on Mongolians’ lives.
A Chinese company proposed to build a highway connecting Khushigiin Khundii Valley, where a new airport is being built, to Ulaanbaatar. Although the road will be built through a concession agreement, the road company requested Mongolia to sign an agreement within this month to start the work earlier.
China also proposed to open Naran Suvst checkpoint in Govi-Altai and Bayankhongor Provinces. They noted that trades worth six million Yuans used to be conducted through the ports and the possibility should be reopened.
President of the Peace and Friendship Organization of Mongolia D.Zagdjav commented, “China recommended ideas to centralize funds by improving small and medium enterprises with cooperation of Chinese entities. Mongolia’s neighbors are rich countries and so is Mongolia. We need to start properly and reach accurate solutions. I understand that one development solution is to improve cooperation with neighboring countries.”
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