Saturday, February 7, 2015

Mongolia Brief January 15, 2015



President of Mongolia to Pay State Visit to Czech Republic from January 18, 2015
January 15 (infomongolia.com) President of Mongolia Mr. Tsakhia ELBEGDORJ will be paying a state visit to the Czech Republic upon an invitation of the President Mr. Milos Zeman on January 18-20, 2015.

Following the visit, President of Mongolia will attend the 45th annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on January 21-24, 2015.
During the state visit to the Czech Republic, President Ts.Elbegdorj will have an official talk with his counterpart Milos Zeman and to meet with the Czech Prime Minister, the President of the Senate and the Chair of the Chamber of Deputies. He will address the Mongolia-Czech Business Forum and visit the Center for Mongolian Studies at the Charles University of Prague. The President will also meet with Mongolian citizens living and studying in the Czech Republic.
The visit is coinciding with the 65th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Mongolia and the Czech Republic and it will give impetus towards deepening and expanding the bilateral relations and cooperation, namely the cooperation in the field of economics, trade, investment, social welfare and infrastructure as well as intensifying cooperation in the multilateral fora.
During the World Economic Forum 45th annual meeting, President Ts.Elbegdorj will attend Mining Metal Governors Meeting, Events of Partnering Against Corruption Initiative, the 2015 World Water Program and participate an informal gathering of World Economic Leaders.
On the sidelines of the Forum, President of Mongolia will have bilateral meetings with some Heads of States.
Related:

Bank of Mongolia raises its policy rate
January 15 (news.mn) Bank of Mongolia announced that it raised its policy rate by 1.0 percentage point to 13 percent on Wednesday.
The monetary policy committee of Bank of Mongolia held a meeting on Wednesday and reached the decision above with majority votes in a poll.
All 14 members of the committee and President of the Bank of Mongolia agreed on the decision to raise its policy rate.
The monetary policy committee raised its policy rate by 1.5 percentage points to 12.0 percent in July 2014.
In the past two years there had been positive signs in term of inflation and inflation measured by CPI which fell to 11 percent.
Due to the exchange rate of the MNT against foreign currencies, and consumer price increases with government regulations, the nation's core inflation is high, at 12.6 percent.
The flow of foreign currency to the economy has not recovered, and foreign direct investment fell for the third year.
The Bank of Mongolia reached the decision to support the trade balance of the economy until the state of foreign trade has improved and the flow of foreign exchange has increased.

Allowances for children and mothers will not be cut
January 15 (news.mn) The DP caucus held a special meeting on Wednesday to review the issue of removing monthly allowances for children, mothers, and recipients of the Mongolian Mother's Glory Order 1st and 2nd class in the scope of cuts to the government budget.
At the meeting, MPs agreed to continue granting allowances for children and the Mongolian Mother's Glory Order 1st and 2nd class at least.
MPs also agreed to find resources for increasing public employees’ salaries and pensions.
The government decided to grant the allowances for children only to targeted groups and to cut allowances for mothers with the Mongolian Mother's Glory Order whose children have reached 18 years of age, and not to increase pay and pensions in the government budget revision bill for 2015. However, parliament has decided to continue some of the social welfare programs that were considered for cuts.

Public transportation workers to demonstrate
January 15 (news.mn) The Mongolian Transport, Communications and Petroleum Workers Union will hold a press conference today to announce that the Ulaanbaatar Public Transport Service is calling for a demonstration in order to have their salary and social welfare issues resolved.
The removal of allowances granted to Public Transport Service employees from the Ulaanbaatar City Budget motivated Ulaanbaatar Public Transport Service employees to demonstrate.
Bus drivers and conductors of Public Transport Service will report about the decision against pay increases for employees.
The press conference is being held at the Confederation of Mongolian Trade Unions today.

Capital City School Children Will Be Given Smart Pupil’s ID Card
January 15 (infomongolia.com) The City Department of Education in collaboration with the Union of Mongolian Secondary Schools' Students have decided to issue a smart ID card, relied on latest technology and complies international standards, to 138 thousand pupils of the capital city schools.
According to officials, a Pupil’s Card of the City will cost 1,400 MNT (Tugrug), which is effective three years from the date of allocation and will be given to pupils from January 27, 2015.
The Pupil’s Card will not only include a complete information, but also can be used as an ID to enroll any training centers or public events at discounted prices or free as well as present in public transportations for free ride being implemented under “Smart School” Program.
Moreover, City Department of Education and Union of Mongolian Secondary Schools’ Students have been partnering with Urgoo Cinema that allows pupils with new ID card to have 20-50% discounts on each movie.
Besides, “Khaan” and “Monre” insurance companies pledged to install for free the Pupil’s Card reader machines at all schools designated and “Kewiko” company, a wireless internet service provider, provides with a free access to any on-line trainings and at discounted prices to other internet services.

MP meets IFC resident representative
By B. Amarsaikhan
Ulaanbaatar, January 15 (MONTSAME) A member of Parliament J.Batzandan received Thursday the resident representative of the International Financial Corporation (IFC) to Mongolia Mr Tuyen Nguyen, at the latter’s request.
Mr Nguyen informed that the IFC and the Ministry of Justice of Mongolia has signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Technical Assistance for creating the virtual environment for legal enforcement in case of the adoption of the draft law on Immovable property and Intangible asset mortgages. He also noted that over 30 countries adopted such laws and the results are satisfactory.
Mr Batzandan MP said he is putting his efforts on the development of the draft law on Immovable property and Intangible asset mortgages and shared his opinion on the cooperation with the IFC on the enforcement of law, if adopted.
The draft law was submitted to the Parliament in June, last year, on the motives that Mongolia faces an urgent need to promote through mortgage loans the economic circulation of immovable and transferable intangible assets such as stocks, treasury bills, receivables, intellectual properties, and to facilitate such relations with an adequate legal environment in Mongolia.

Irregular cabinet meeting runs
By B. Khuder
Ulaanbaatar, January 15 (MONTSAME) At its irregular meeting on Thursday decided to withdraw a draft amendment to the law on budget stability which submitted to parliament on Monday, and reflect a clause in it about minimizing the total amount of debt in the GDP in several phases.
The amount of both domestic and foreign debt expressed a current value will not exceed 60% of the GDP in the budgetary year of 2015, 55%--in 2016, 50%--in 2017, and 40%--in 2018, in accordance with the amendment to the law.  

“Drunk Drivers and Children’s Lives” discussion held
By B. Amarsaikhan
Ulaanbaatar, January 15 (MONTSAME) Such discussion was held at the State House on January 15 organized by the women members of the Parliament. Representatives of the Ulaanbaatar Traffic Police Department, the Traffic Police Department, the Transport Prosecutors’ Office, the University of Law Enforcement, the Ministry of Justice, and of the Society for Traffic Safety attended the discussion to voice their views.
A member of Parliament L.Erdenechimeg mentioned in her opening remarks that the ever-increasing number of vehicles results in increased number of traffic accidents, and that the number of such accidents reported in Ulaanbaatar in 2014 amounted to 26678, which indicated increase by 76.5 percent against the previous year. She also noted that the administrative accountability is too light towards the “drinking and driving” offenders.
Present at the discussion were M.Batchimeg, D.Sarangerel, Ts.Oyungerel, G.Uyanga, Z.Bayanselenge and S.Odontuya MPs.
Ms D.Sarangerel MP suggested raising more awareness and information access, providing targeted trainings rather than tightening up the accountability systems, whereas M.Batchimeg MP presented about the renovation of the script of the Law on Traffic Safety, and gave brief information on the amendments to be made.
Other lectors included the Colonel E.Bokhbat, the head of the Ulaanbaatar Division for Crime Preventions, and D.Bayarmagnai, a prosecutor at the Transport Prosecutors’ Office.

Vice Speaker of Turkey visits Mongolian Embassy
By B. Khuder
Ulaanbaatar, January 15 (MONTSAME) Vice Chairman of the Grand National Assembly (parliament) of the Republic of Turkey Mr Sadik Yakut Wednesday legged the Embassy of Mongolia in Turkey.
The Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Mongolia to Turkey Mr B.Batkhishig briefed about a policy of the newly formed cabinet of Mongolia and goals of the Mongolia-Turkey relations for this year, and then asked the Vice Speaker to augment investments to be made to Mongolia and to tackle an issue of a soft-loan.
Mr Sadik Yakut expressed his satisfaction with a sustainable development of the inter-parliamentary ties, and said he will convey requests of the Mongolia to his country’s parliament and to seek an opportunity to realize them.
Visited Mongolia several times, Mr Sadik Yakut is one of the Turkish influential politicians to focus big attention to the Mongolia-Turkey ties and cooperation and increasing loans and assistance for Mongolia.

Academician D.Tserensodnom receives prize
By B. Khuder
Ulaanbaatar, January 15 (MONTSAME) Director of the Research Center for “Secret History of Mongols” at the Institute of Linguistics of the Academy of Sciences and academician Ts.Tserensodnom has received a gold medal of the Permanent International Altaistic Conference.
The medal granting ceremony took place on Wednesday in the Presidium’s Department of the Academy of Sciences. Mr Tserensodnom became the second Mongolia to be awarded with the gold medal. Before him, the award went to late B.Rinchin.

English language Olympiad concluded
By B. Khuder
Ulaanbaatar, January 15 (MONTSAME) The 12th English language Olympiad named after “Hobby” school was concluded on Wednesday.
The Olympiad’s main purposes are to challenge English language knowledge and skills of school pupils and their teachers, and to bring the English language training quality into international standards in times of increasing number of people to learn English.
The contestants took English tests in grammar, writing and speaking modules, and the tests were checked by the organizers together with the Education Assessment Center, using an automatic machine.
This year’s Olympiad added a new division of teachers, attracting 24 teachers from 19 urban and local schools. Moreover, the Olympiad brought together 1,049 pupils from 78 state-owned and private schools.

Mongolian population rises by 2.2 percent
By B. Amarsaikhan
Ulaanbaatar, January 15 (MONTSAME) In 2014, the population of Mongolia reached 2995949, which indicates an increase by 65672 people or 2.2 percent compared to the previous year, reports the National Statistics Office.
Out of 82839 children born in 2014 at the national level, 1124 or 14 percent were born overseas. A total of 81228 mothers delivered children and the number of live births amounted to 81715, in 2014. The number of the mothers increased by 1857 or 2.3 percent and that of the children showed increase of 1935 or 2.4 percent, compared to the previous year.
Infant mortality rate reached 1251 deaths, increasing by 85 children or 7.3 percent, and mortality rate for children under the age of five reached 1505, increasing by 67 or 4.7 percent, compared to 2013.
Mongolia received its two-millionth citizen on July 11 of 1988, and expects the three-millionth citizen in 2015.

Authority of Mineral Resources to Grant Exploration License for 20% of Total Territory of Mongolia
January 15 (infomongolia.com) The Authority of Mineral Resources announces to accept paper-requests for exploration licenses starting from January 26, 2015.
According to statement, exploration licenses will be allocated to 19.9% of total territory of Mongolia or 31 million ha, of which 13.4% or 20.9 million ha will be issued by accepting applications and the rest of 6.5% or 10.1 million ha will be issued under selection.
Applications for licenses will be received and dealt with “One Window” service and order numbers will be given on-line.
The second option of selecting applicants will be conducted under competitive procedure, which is common in international practices. In other words, bidders will be selected under 100-point criteria, where the highest bidder will be given up to 50 points and remaining 50 points will be considered the developed project to execute on the land as well as staff skill and experience and how well equipped with techniques and equipment, etc.
Related:
License proposals to be received soonMontsame, January 15

MP G.Batkhuu asked to investigate S.Zorig's murder case
January 15 (news.mn) In Wednesday's meeting of the Standing Committee on Security and Foreign Policy MP G.Batkhuu was re-elected as head of the sub-committee of the Standing Committee.
At the meeting, MP S.Oyun asked G.Batkhuu to pay attention to the still unsolved assassination of Mongolian Member of Parliament Sanjaasuren Zorig, which occurred under circumstances that strongly suggested a political or financial motive.
Sister of Sanjaasuren Zorig, MP S.Oyun said that there had been a working group to focus on the case organized by the sub-committee under the previous parliament.

Mongolia and France to Collaborate Closely in Energy Sector
January 15 (infomongolia.com) On January 14, 2015, Minister of Energy Mr. Dashzeveg ZORIGT received in his office the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the French Republic to Mongolia, Mr. Yves Delaunay.
At the beginning of meeting, Ambassador Yves Delaunay mentioned there are plenty works to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries that marks in 2015, and said the second Mongolia-France intergovernmental working group meeting focused on economic partnership was successfully held in Ulaanbaatar last year, where French leading companies in energy industry had attended. In this regard, French Ambassador invited the Energy Minister D.Zorigt to participate in the third working group meeting to be hosted in France in the second quarter of this year.
Minister D.Zorigt noted that the GDF Suez S.A., a French multinational electric utility company, won the bid to construct the Thermal Power Plant No.5 in Mongolia and expressed his hope the project would be successfully accomplished. In addition, the GDF Suez is participating in the "Tavan Tolgoi Power Plant" mega project, a 450 MW coal-fired power plant in the Tavan Tolgoi area in Umnugovi Aimag.
Furthermore, Energy Minister D.Zorigt expressed his interest to collaborate with France to receive short and medium term scholarships on preparing engineers and technical staff in energy sector, besides, to involve French public and private entities in new projects to implement in Mongolia as well as to acclimatize modern and efficient cost techniques and technology in renewable energy industry.
In response, Ambassador Yves Delaunay pledged to consider proposals and work closely with the Ministry to undertake above mentioned issues.

Mongolian Photographer to Display “A Land of Nomads” Photo Exhibition in Buryatia
January 15 (infomongolia.com) Starting from January 17, 2015, a photographer from Mongolia, Mr. Balgantseren BAYAR is opening his photo exhibition “A Land of Nomads” at the National Museum of the Republic of Buryatia.
B.Bayar is a well-known photographer in his country and displayed his solo exhibitions in Tokyo, Saitama and Yokohama cities of Japan.
In his interview in Buryatian press, the photographer said, “I have journeyed across the Mongolian territory since 2000 and then I understood that the most beautiful places and moments must be saved on camera and I purchased my first “Nikon” camera in 2007. In the past eight years I have been and shooting in 27 countries.
While being here I have pictured the beauty of Baikal Lake and architectural structure in Ulan-Ude city. The natural environment in Buryatia reminded me my country’s Khuvsgul Lake. Nevertheless, many relatives of mine are living here and hope to meet them during my staying and the reason to exhibit is considered as the Republic of Buryatia as my second home country”.

Mayor Meets “Smart Bus” Project Group
By B. Amarsaikhan
Ulaanbaatar, January 15 (MONTSAME) Mayor and the Governor of Ulaanbaatar Mr E.Bat-Uul received Thursday a delegation led by the president and CEO of “Korea Smart Card” Co.,Ltd. Mr Dae Sung Choi, and representatives of a Mongolian-S.Korean joint “Data Card” consortium.
The Consortium inked an agreement with the Ulaanbaatar Administration last September, for introducing an online information system into the public transport of the city. In a scope of this framework, the company intends to start the implementation of a project on renovation of the public transport, informed the delegation to the Mayor and gave status report on the preparation, future plans and system structure of the project.
The project consists of three main categories: development of monitoring system, reporing system and automated ticket system. Mongolian “Top” Group, “Nama Och”, “Data Card Service”, “G-Mobile”, and Trade Development Bank, and Korean “Korea Smart Card”, “Zeus”, “Amola”, “Fores” KSCC Companies have jointly formed the consortium.
The Mayor said at the meeting that the adequate development of the public transport is necessary in relieving the expected pressure in the city traffic due to the increased number tourists, especially Russians, to visit Ulaanbaatar.

Budget Stability Law Draft Amendments Passed to First Discussion
By B. Amarsaikhan
Ulaanbaatar, January 15 (MONTSAME) A renewed version of the draft amendments to the law on Budget Stability is transferred to its first discussion by the Parliament, with an approval vote of 79.7 percent on Wednesday plenary meeting of the State Great Khural. The draft was presented to the Speaker on January 14 by the head of the Cabinet Secretariat S.Bayartsogt MP.
Earlier, the same day, the Standing committee on Budget supported submitting the draft to the Parliament. The Minister of Finance J.Erdenebat presented the introduction of the draft on the plenary meeting. He informed that the draft offered changes to reach a debt level of GDP 40 percent by 2018, through a certain sequence of measures towards reducing the level of State debt. This was developed on the motives that the debt is estimated to reach 55 percent of the country’s total GDP, assumed by current values. The draft also outlines special regulations aimed to limit the balanced deficit in the Master budget, which is estimated to reach five percent of the total GDP of 2015, within four percent in 2016, three percent in 2017 and within two percent or less of the total GDP to be produced in 2018.
Recommendations and suggestions by the Standing committee on Budget were presented by D.Gankhuyag MP, which was followed by Q&A. After this, the Minister of Finance J.Erdenebat said he intends to send the latest detailed report on the debts of Mongolia to the political factions and independent members of the Parliament.
Prime Minister Ch.Saikhanbileg said that the Government will no longer take short-term commercial credits, and suggested the Parliament t discuss obtaining of the 10-40 year-term loans. He also noted that the Government will issue guarantee in cases of the private sector investments to State-led programs and activities.

CPI Increases
By B. Khuder
Ulaanbaatar, January 15 (MONTSAME) The national consumer price index increased by 0.8 per cent in December 2014 from the previous month, by 11.0 per cent against beginning of the year.
An increase of 0.8 percent was mainly due to increases of 1.1 percent in food and non-alcoholic beverages, and 1.5 percent in clothing, footwear and cloth.

Bank of Mongolia Reports
By B. Khuder
Ulaanbaatar, January 15 (MONTSAME) Loans outstanding 2014 amounted to MNT 12.5 trillion at the end of December, decreasing by MNT 145.8 billion or 1.2% from previous month, and increasing by MNT 1.7 trillion or 16.1% against the previous year.
Principals in arrears reached MNT 269.5 billion at the end of December2014, going down by MNT 175.2 billion or 39.4% from previous month, whereas it went up by MNT 151.1 billion or 2.3 times against the previous year.
At the end of December 2014, the non-performing loans over the bank system reached MNT 625.7 billion, increasing by MNT 5.7 billion or 0.9% from the previous month, by MNT 59.9 billion or 10.6% against the previous year.
52.2 million shares were traded valued at MNT 196.3 billion in the stock market. The securities trading declined by MNT 202.8 billion or 50.8% and shares decreased by MNT 13.9 million shares or 21.0% against the previous year.

Stock Exchange News for January 15
By B. Khuder
Ulaanbaatar, January 15 (MONTSAME) At the Stock Exchange trades on Thursday, a total of 20 thousand and 151 units of 18 JSCs were traded costing MNT eight million 936 thousand and 914.
"Remikon” /10 thousand and 213 units/, “Khokh gan” /5,010 units/, “Genco tour bureau” /1,601 units/, “Germes center” /1,237 units/ and "State Department Store” /1,047 units/ were the most actively traded in terms of trading volume, in terms of trading value were "Darkhan nekhii” (MNT four million 447 thousand and 940), "Gutal” (MNT 950 thousand), “Remikon” (MNT 919 thousand and 170), “Mongol makh expo” (MNT 650 thousand) and "State Department Store” (MNT 596 thousand and 790).
The total market capitalization was set at MNT one trillion 412 billion 997 million 953 thousand and 408. The Index of Top-20 JSCs was 14,611.31, decreasing 109.54 units or 0.74% against the previous day.

Unemployment Rate and Number of Students
By B. Khuder
Ulaanbaatar, January 15 (MONTSAME) The number of unemployed reached 37.0 thousand at the end of December 2014, showing a decrease of 5.8 thousand people or 13.6 per cent compared with the same period of the previous year.
As of the beginning of 2014/2015 academic year, the number of students and pupils in all levels of educational institutions reached 933.5 thousand people, increasing by 25.9 thousand people 2.8 per cent against to the previous year.

Livestock Population Reaches 52 Million
By B. Amarsaikhan
Ulaanbaatar, January 15 (MONTSAME) As of the end of 2014, 52.0 million livestock were counted at the national level, of which three million horses, 3.4 million cattle, 349.3 thousand camels, 23.2 million sheep and 22 million goats.
The total number of livestock increased by 6.8 million heads or 15.1 percent compared to the previous year, in specific, the number of horses -- by 376.4 thousand or 14.4percent, of cattle – by 504.4 thousand or 17.3 percent, of camel -- by 27.8 thousand or 8.6 percent, of sheep -- by 3.1 million or 15.7 percent, and of goat by 2.8 million or 14.5 percent.
In 2014, 401.4 thousand heads of full-grown livestock had been lost, which amount equals to 0.9 percent of total livestock as counted at the beginning of the year.

Social Insurance Sector
By B. Khuder
Ulaanbaatar, January 15 (MONTSAME) Last year, the Social Insurance Fund’s (SIF)revenue amounted to MNT 1,387.2 billion, reflecting an increase of MNT 120.0 billion or 9.5% and the SIF’s expenditure reached MNT 1,301.1 billion, increasing by MNT 246.9 billion or 23.4% against the previous year.
Total of MNT 142.5 billion was granted to 208.5 thousand people for pensions and welfare benefits from the Social Welfare Fund. The number of people who received pensions and welfare allowances increased by 9.9 thousand or 5.0%, and an amount of pensions and allowances increased by MNT 0.6 billion or 0.4% against the previous year.
MNT 238.4 billion was granted from the Human Development Fund to 994.1 thousand children aged below 18 as a cash benefits.

World Bank conference on mining infrastructure support
By G. Orkhon
January 15 (Mongolian Economy) The majority of Mongolian mines are located in the Gobi region. To operate, the mines use non-renewable groundwater. Tuesday the World Bank held a conference on mining support infrastructure for the region in Ulaanbaatar.
During the conference, project coordinator B.Enkhbaatar emphasized the water supply issue in Mongolia’s mining sector development, describing the importance of creating a water circuit basin in order to reuse the used water. A World Bank senior social development specialist in charge of the urban, rural and social development, Dr Warren Paul Mayes Evans said: “In the world, the mining sector receives many complaints related to earth and water. That’s why raising matter should be cleared by related regulation and information should be widely given”
The conference stressed the need for the government, private enterprise and citizens to actively participate in mining infrastructure development. Companies and organisations presently leading extraction are to provide genuine information to citizens. S.Bayantsetseg, a specialist at the department of environmental evaluation and auditing at the Ministry of Environment, explained that the evolution of environmental evaluation should be reported as well. Any lack of participation among mining sectors actors, results in issues like misinformation and inefficiency.
The World Bank granted Mongolia a USD 25 million development loan for mining infrastructure in 2011. The majority of the loan goes toward mining infrastructure preparation work: design, feasibility and environmental studies. In addition, Baganuur coal mine, the main energy supplier for the mining sector, is to increase its coal reserve to 6 million tonnes. A research study financed by the World Bank loan concluded the former mine reserve of about 3 million tonnes to be out of date, as the last evaluation occurred in 1978. Shuren Water Power Plant, which will use the Selenge River to run, and the Orkhon River project are now in preparation process. 

Bank of Mongolia: Monetary Policy Statement, January 15, 2015
January 15 (infomongolia.com) On January 14, 2015, the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Bank of Mongolia (Mongol Bank) announced to increase the policy interest rate by 1.0 percentage point to 13%, which is effective from January 15, 2015.
So, today, the Bank released the official Monetary Policy Statement and it cites, “Although, annual inflation measured by CPI declined to 11.0% nationwide at the end of 2014 owing to sustainable positive change in the composition of inflation over the last two years, core inflation remains high at 12.6% due to impacts of exchange rate fluctuation and increase in administered prices. In addition, foreign exchange inflows remain muted and foreign direct investments have been deteriorating for the third consecutive year.
Therefore, the MPC took this policy action to support external macroeconomic balance through increasing MNT (Tugrug) yield until signs of improvement on terms of trade condition and foreign exchange inflows are noted.
The decision shall positively affect reducing aggregate demand and current account deficit in the short term, maintaining inflation at low and stable level, and promoting macroeconomic and financial stability”.
Monetary Policy Committee
Bank of Mongolia

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