New Year’s Greetings to His Nation by President of Mongolia, Ts.Elbegdorj
January 1 (infomongolia.com) As customary, Presidents of countries across the world address to their people with New Year’s Greetings and this time, President of Mongolia, Mr. Tsakhia ELBEGDORJ delivered a speech from the factory of the "Erdenet" Mining Corporation, Erdenet City, which was broadcasted nationwide on the New Year’s Eve.
New Year’s Greetings to his Nation by the President of Mongolia, Ts.Elbegdorj
My fellow citizens,
I am glad to extend New Year’s greetings from the Erdenet city, where I started working 33 years ago. Erdenet mine is a symbol of our eternal friendship and a wonderful creation that inspires our people's creation.
It is time for us to create. In the last few years, a number of factories have been opened in Mongolia, accelerating the creation.
For instance, construction material manufacturers, iron processing plants, food production companies and other key factories are complete and ready for commissioning. Creation in our country is arising against the economic setback.
Mongolia has recorded a trade surplus in outgoing year of 2014. It is also proof of growing creation in Mongolia. Number of livestock has reached a record high of 52 million, which means it has more than doubled the result 25 years ago.
Last spring Mongolia planted in 313 thousand hectares and collected 520 thousand tons of crops harvest this autumn and this was the record result in last 17 years.
Last autumn Heads of State of our neighboring countries visited our country and at the initiative of Mongolia, the first formal trilateral meeting between Mongolia, Russia and China was successfully held.
Mongolia has won the right to host the next 11th ASEM Summit in Ulaanbaatar in 2016. In 2014 Mongolia signed the Economic Partnership Agreement, Agreement on Transparency and Millennium Challenge Corporation has selected Mongolia as eligible to develop a second compact.
The year of 2014 brought the foreign relations and international cooperation of Mongolia to a new stage of development, spreading a positive image of Mongolia to the world.
This year was the 25th Anniversary of the Democratic Revolution and the 75th Historical Anniversary of the Victory of Khalkhyn Gol Battle. We have exceeded our previous achievements in culture and sports.
We shall bid farewell to 2014 and welcome New Year 2015. Let us strive to reinforce our previous achievements and accomplish far more in 2015. I believe that in a close cooperation with our Parliament, Government and other public organizations we will move Mongolia forward and advance in positive directions. Respecting accountability and creation is of utmost importance for Mongolia. This issue was recently discussed at the level of Parliament and Government of Mongolia.
Budget Transparency Law or “A Glass Account Law” will enter into force on January 1st, 2015, allowing citizens to control and monitor the expenditure of taxpayers’ money.
Moreover, next year we plan to submit to the Parliament the following draft laws including the Law on Public Hearing, Law on Accountability of Elected and Appointed Officials, General Administrative Law, Law on Civic Participation, Law on Future Legacy Fund and other laws that will respect citizens’ interest, remind officials to accountability and contribute to establishing the rule of law in Mongolia.
I do hope and believe that the coming year 2015, will be a year of progress and advancement. I am confident that Mongolians will not waste a single precious moment in 2015. Time is the most valuable investment for Mongolia and is more expensive than the foreign currency. The coming New Year will be of historical importance and will be equal to the future development of a decade in Mongolia.
I would like to call on my people to be creative and responsible, facing challenges, taking advantage of every opportunity and not wasting time. I extend this call and extend my greetings to all my countrymen joyfully waiting to meet the New Year who reside in the four directions and eight azimuths of the world.
I also wish a happy New Year to the representatives and collectives from the world countries and international organizations.
Mongolia is expected to welcome its three millionth citizen on the eve of the 27th anniversary of Mongolian population reached two million. With all our will and might Mongolians are growing many. Next year, Government and healthcare organizations will make more commitment and pay more close attention to the health of our mothers and children.
I appreciate and wish a happy New Year to doctors, police officers, firefighters, emergency staff, soldiers, patients and every single person on duty and official service at the moment. The coming year of 2015 will be a prosperous year fully loaded with new ideas and creations. From the humming factory of Erdenet, which is the source of an intensive creation, I wish happiness and all the best to our elders, children and all the families.
Let the New Year be a propitious year for every person. And I would like to raise this bowl of milk to the happiness and wellbeing of every family and home.
Once again, I wish a Happy New Year!
Have a wonderful New Year!
New Year Address to Mongolians of President Ts.Elbegdorj – Montsame, January 2
Premier Meets Businessmen
By B. Khuder
Ulaanbaatar, January 2 (MONTSAME) On December 31 of 2014, the Prime Minister Ch.Saikhanbileg received businessmen and exchanged views with them on Mongolia's economic situation and on measures to be taken for the national economy.
The PM thanked the businessmen for making great efforts despite the problems in the national economy in 2014 and emphasized an importance of the businessmen-government collaboration in overcoming the difficulties. "The cabinet will do all its best to create nice conditions for business," he underlined, "the government will focus on adopting the laws on business transparency, on properties and on package laws".
A head of the Mongolian National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MNCCI) and this meeting’s organizer Ch.Lhagvajav said the government and businessmen definitely will overcome the economic difficulties, and added that first measures will be taken within six months. The wealth-makers will be the main factor to abolish the economic problems when they are provided with a financial and economic freedom, he underlined. The gathered supported it and proposed their ideas and views.
The Premier said this meeting should be held every month.
Chingis Khaan’s Square Celebrates New Year
By B. Khuder
Ulaanbaatar, January 2 (MONTSAME) The administration of Ulaanbaatar city organized the "Silver night of Ulaanbaatar" New year show on December 31 on the Square of Chingis Khaan.
The show, which continued up to the first hour of the 2015, attracted many pop groups, singers and musicians such as B.Chinbat, S.Saran and D.Bold.
On the moment of the New Year coming, the Mayor of Ulaanbaatar Mr E.Bat-Uul greeted the gathered and welcomed the New Year together with them and authorities of the capital city. He wished the 2015 year to be the best, with more success, and said the UB municipality will continue making Ulaanbaatar one of the world’s nicest cities. "For example, the administration intends to connect all places of the UB with the Internet, to provide some 10 thousand families with apartments, and to furnish the city streets in accordance with international standards," he added.
The Ulaanbaatar Police Department, Traffic Police Department and Emergency Service worked on a higher readiness level.
Infomongolia.com Presents Top Seven Highlights of 2014
December 31 (infomongolia.com) New Government for Changes is succeeded by the Solution Government of Mongolia
The top highlight event occurred in 2014 is named as the "New Government for Changes" is replaced by the "Solution Government", where Cabinet of the Government of Mongolia used to chair by former Prime Minister N.Altankhuyag was dismissed being effective in 2012-2014.
The main reason to oust the 27th Prime Minister was considered as MP N.Altankhuyag could not resolve facing economic crises and since the 2012 Parliamentary Elections, the living standard has not been improved.
Moreover, a fact that aroused a lot of compromises with his Party fellowmen (Democratic Party) was an agreement of cooperation with MPRP until 2020, which was established with the Head of Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party (MPRP) N.Enkhbayar. This action was another biggest reason to dissolve the former Head of Democratic Party (DP), Premier N.Altankhuyag and his Cabinet by joint proposals of “Shonkhor” and “MoAKh” factions (both affiliated the DP) and its opposition party of Mongolian People’s Party (MPP).
Furthermore, N.Altankhuyag’s chairmanship was ended by Parliament’s decision on November 05, 2014 and following the negotiations between the ruling DP and other political forces having seats in the Parliament, (MPP, CWGP and “Justice” Coalition merged from MPRP and MNDP), parties agreed to establish a new Coalition Government under "Solution Government" of Mongolia.
World leaders visit Mongolia
It is a common event when heads of state conduct reciprocal top-level visits, but the official visits of the heads of state of the People’s Republic of China and the Russian Federation to Mongolia, the only two neighbors of our country, attracted a world attention in 2014.
President of China, Mr. Xi Jinpin paid a state visit to Mongolia upon the invitation of the President of Mongolia, Mr. Ts.Elbegdorj on August 21-22, 2014. The head of China conducted an official visit to Mongolia 11 years ago and it was the first visit to Mongolia since the President Xi Jinpin took his office. During the visit, Government authorities of the PR of China and Mongolia have signed on 26 Agreements, Protocols and Memorandums of Understanding that are parts of important strategic documents to develop Mongolia’s socio-economic sectors.
Upon the invitation of the President of Mongolia, the President of the Russian Federation V.V.Putin paid a one-day working visit to Mongolia on September 03, 2014.
Russian head of state was accompanied with a large group of delegates including Foreign Minister S.Lavrov, Deputy Prime Minister Yu.Trutnev, Minister of Energy A.Novak, Minister of Justice A.Konovalov, Minister of Construction and Housing and Communal Services M.Menn, Minister of Transportation M.Sokolov, Minister of Regional Development I.Slyunyayev, President of Russian Railways JSC (RZD) V.Yakunin, former President of Buryatia V.Nagovitsyn, Chairman of the Government of Tuva Sh.Kara-ool, Governor of Irkutsk Oblast S.Yeroshenko and other representatives from business and social spheres.
Russian President V.Putin visited Mongolia for his third time and during the latter visit, the Government authorities of the Russian Federation and Mongolia signed on 15 Agreements, Protocols and Memorandums of Understanding. The most impetus inked document is on reciprocal 30 days visa-free travel between citizens of the two countries, which entered into force from November 14, 2014.
The XVII Asian Games were successfully organized in Incheon, South Korea, where over 9,500 athletes from 45 countries have competed for 439 events in 36 sports categories and Mongolia was represented with its 234 athletes competing in 23 events.
At this Asian ‘Olympics’, Mongolia performed an outstanding results achieving its record-holding number of medals, whereas 5 Gold, 4 Silver and 12 Bronze medals and stood at the 16th place in overall ranking. Although the most achievements in sports were showed by national wrestlers in judo, freestyle, sambo and sumo wrestling.
Namely, Merit Athlere Sukhee TSERENCHIMED, Women’s 60 kg, become the World Champion in freestyle wrestling during the 2014 FILA Wrestling World Championships.
Further, Merit Athlete Ganzorig MANDAKHNARAN, Men’s 65 kg, repeated the Budapest 2013 FILA Wrestling World Championships’ result in 2014 by achieving Bronze medal. In 2014 FILA Wrestling World Championships, Enkhsaikhan NYAMOCHIR, Men’s 60 kg, had also grabbed a Bronze medal.
Also, Ganbat BOLDBAATAR, Men’s 60 kg, become the Champion at the 2014 World Judo Championships held in Chelyabinsk, Russia, where Women’s Judo Team won a Silver medal.
Moreover, Mongolian wrestlers in Japanese traditional sumo wrestling have also been performing and standing on the top position since the 68th Yokozuna Asashoryu, Dolgorsuren DAGVADORJ and at the latter Grand Sumo Tournament held in November 2014, the 69th Yokozuna Hakuho, Munkhbat DAVAAJARGAL reached the Japanese all-time record of 32 career championships that was made 43 years ago by legendary Yokozuna Taiho.
Tough monetary policy
The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Central Bank of Mongolia (Mongol Bank) decided to increase its policy interest rate by 1.5 point to 12%, at the recurrent meeting held on July 30, 2014.
The currency reserve of Mongolia was at 1.6 billion USD in May 2014 and compare to same period of previous year, it was reduced by 52.6%. However, foreign direct investments and net foreign assets have been declining for the last 2 years, whilst quasi-fiscal expenditures have been unalleviated. In addition, the measures on increasing foreign exchange inflows and improving balance of payments have still not been sufficient.
Therefore, the MPC has made this decision to increase MNT (Tugrug) yield in order to relieve the balance of payments difficulty, curb inflationary pressure, ensure financial stability in the medium and long term, prevent from potential risks in macroeconomic stability, and protect the real income of individuals. The outstanding balance of Mongol Bank’s program loans, excluding the sustainable mortgage financing program, is expected to decrease by 766 billion MNT at the end of this year. Therewith, the monetary policy decision shall be more effective along with the implementation of prudent and consolidated fiscal policy, which includes quasi-fiscal expenditures as introduced by the Governor of Mongol Bank, Mr. N.Zoljargal.
It has still been crucial to enhance foreign exchange inflows through increasing export proceeds and promoting foreign direct investments, and maintain fiscal stability in order to neutralize the balance of payments pressure and to overcome current economic challenges.
Mongolian currency against the US dollar reached a record-level in 2014. At the beginning of year, 1 USD was equivalent to 1,714.3 MNT and hit 1,905 MNT/USD in August. One of the main factors affecting the rate of USD was impacted as the foreign currency reserves reduced up to 1.38 billion USD or 37.8 percent compare the beginning of the year.
Investor to develop Tavan Tolgoi coal deposit is picked up
Under Government Resolution No.265, the development issue of Tavan Tolgoi coal deposit to pick up investors has been discussed since 2010, but was not resolved until December 2014, when the new Coalition Government finally picked up an investor as partner as the China-Japan-Mongolia Consortium comprised of Shenhua Energy, Sumitomo Corporation and Energy Resources.
Since the tripartite Consortium was picked up to develop the Tavan Tolgoi deposit, the Government of Mongolia and investors decided to hold their negotiations starting from January 05, 2015.
To note, following the announcement that the Government of Mongolia selected an investor for Tavan Tolgoi coal deposit, an index of “Mongolian Mining Corporation” scaled up and shares have been increased by 6% at the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
Battle at the Khalkh River
In August 2014, the 75th anniversary of the victory of the Battles at the Khalkh River (The Battles of Khalkhyn Gol) was commemorated nationwide with the Russian people. On the occasion of celebration, President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin conducted a working visit to Mongolia to pay tribute to the anniversary and during his visit, President V.Putin pledged to improve military and military-technical cooperation by assisting with arms and increasing technical capacity of Mongolian Armed Forces.
Top harvest collected in 20 years
In 2014, it was collected a total of 518.7 thousand tons of crop, of which 489.4 thousand tons of wheat, 164.0 thousand tons of potato, 102.2 thousand tons of other vegetables, 51.7 thousand tons of oil plant, and 40.3 thousand tons of fodder plant. In other words, an average quintal or centner (100 kg) of crop collected is 16.6 ql. per ha; 123.2 ql. of potato, 122.9 ql. of other vegetables, 24.5 ql. of oil plant and 6.4 ql. of fodder plant respectively.
This is the highest performance that has been recorded in 20 years, where 896 entities and individuals of 14 Aimags have supplied 340.0 thousand tons of wheat flour to mill houses that fully provided domestic demand this year.
Photo News: Silver Night of Ulaanbaatar, December 31, 2014
January 1 (infomongolia.com) On the New Year's Eve, the Capital City Municipality successfully organized the "Silver Night of Ulaanbaatar" public celebration at the Chinggis Square from 08:00 pm to 00:00 am, where "Shar Airag", "Sweetymotion", "Nuans", "3 Okhin" and "V.R" bands along with music composer, pianist B.Chinbat, pop diva S.Naran and singer D.Bold have performed and shared their holiday with civilians.
At the public celebration, Mayor of UB Erdene BAT-UUL greeted the public and noted in his address that on this year’s night gathered more people than last year, despite it was colder and wished all the best in the coming 2015 Year.
Judo Nat’l Championship Approaches
By B. Khuder
Ulaanbaatar, January 2 (MONTSAME) Mongolia's national championship for judo will run January 9-11 in the "Buyant-Ukhaa" sport complex.
Organized by the Mongolian Judo Federation (MJF), the events will gather top judokas, Olympic and World championship medalists. Similar to IJF rule, the competitions will run in men 60, 66, 73, 81, 90, -100, +100, women 48, 52, 57, 63, 70, 78 and +78 kg divisions.
The championship for men judo has been arranged since 1978, the women championship--since 1993.
Gold medalists of the championship will be qualified to compete in World championships, Grand Slam and Grand Prix tournament of 2015.
"Hakuho" M.Davaajargal Comes Second in List of Japanese Top Athletes
By B. Khuder
Ulaanbaatar, January 2 (MONTSAME) A State Honored Sportsman of Mongolia and Grand champion of Japanese professional sumo "Hakuho"-titled Mongolian M.Davaajargal has been ranked the second in the list of Japan Professional Sports Grand Prize for this year.
Davaajargal won his 32nd Grand sumo tournament this year to equal the total championships of legendary Yokozuna Taiho. In the list, he is after a professional tennis player Kei Nishikori who reached finals of the US Open, one of the four ATP Grand Prix and won four tournaments of the ATP, being ranked fifth in the world.
The Japan Professional Sports Grand Prize is granted since 1968. It went to baseball player 23 times, to sumo wrestler seven times, and to footballer five times. Mr Davaajargal won this prize in 2010, another Mongolian famous "Asashoryu" D.Dagvadorj received it twice--in 2004 and 2005.
Trash worth 6.7 billion MNT
January 4 (UB Post) Issues about the city’s green trash bags are raised annually. Once again, the public has begun their argument about trash bag issues with the Ulaanbaatar City Administration, as the government almost doubles the 2015 budget for trash bags.
The government has been advising the whole nation to tighten their belts and cut down on costs during the current economic crisis. After saving some hundreds of thousands of MNT by laying-off civil servants and reducing some officials’ wages, the government has hastily approved 6.7 billion MNT for “Asia’s White Diva” plastic bags in the 2015 state budget. The government started a savings regime for the budget, yet they were so extravagant with the budget for trash bags. They know that it takes several hundreds of years for nature to absorb plastic and still invested billions for producing more trash.
Occasionally, people would ring door bells and distribute the city’s trash bags. Now, they don’t. We have to get them ourselves from the Home Owners’ Association. Going to the association to get trash bags isn’t a big deal for most residents, as they were never distributed to some areas in the city such as ger districts. The issue with these green bags is their poor quality. Considering the budget, the bags should be sturdy, resistant, and well manufactured so that they don’t rip easily. Even before they are filled with trash, the bags rip and scatter trash everywhere. Some residents in the ger district complained that the plastic bags were made for only apartment residents, as they are unsuitable for throwing out ashes and other waste from gers.
Spending large sums of money on plastic bags is absolutely unnecessary. With or without these bags, residents are fully capable of finding ways to throw out their trash. A whole stack of bags, sold for only 1,000 to 2,000 MNT and which are much sturdier than the green trash bags, would cost the state less than 6.7 billion MNT. The only thing the “Asia’s White Diva” plastic bags can do is keep the color of trash bags consistent.
According to the Ulaanbaatar City Administration, out of over 14 billion MNT reserved for trash bags, five billion MNT was spent this year and 6.7 billion MNT has been planned for next year. No matter how extravagant and wasteful the administration is, spending 6.7 billion MNT is just too much. Instead, they could spend this money on establishing new hospitals, schools, and kindergartens, which are more urgently needed and sustainable for society. However, they chose differently. Trash has been increased under the name of these trash bags.
The distribution of trash bags is progress, as stated by the Ulaanbaatar City Administration. They say that the trash that once piled up outside fences now has bags for collection. In this manner, the administration is promoting themselves and their work, yet most residents don’t know where these “Asia’s White Diva” plastic bags are distributed from or how much is collected for them each month. This project shouldn’t be praised as advancement and innovation in waste management. In addition, it’s rumored that more colorful trash bags will be produced and more state funds and financing are required for them. Honestly, even if the budget is increased and the color is changed, a trash bag is still a trash bag. Rumor has it that then the number of trash bag manufacturers will increase as the budget increases. Anyone would agree that the number of trash bag consumers would decline rather than increase.
Here are some of the complaints from city residents about the green trash bags:
Only 15 bags are distributed every month. They are insufficient and very fragile. In the winter, they rip easily. It’s impossible to put ashes or cinder in them. Households in ger districts have all sorts of waste and thin plastic bags can’t contain them. Plastic bags aren’t good for the environment and yet, hundreds of plastic bags are being distributed and making more trash. Simply put, it’s a forced business. It’s better if households manage their own trash bags.
It seems that most residents aren’t interested in using these flimsy bags. The residents are more interested in finding out why the city administrators hope to continue manufacturing them and changing their color.
Source: Uls Turiin Toim
PM talks to entrepreneurs about improving the economy
By Ch. Khaliun
January 4 (UB Post) On the last day of 2014, Prime Minister Ch.Saikhanbileg met with business owners and exchanged views on the nation’s economic situation and measures to be taken for advancing the economy.
The Prime Minister thanked the business owners for making great efforts despite the problems in the national economy in 2014, and emphasized the importance of private sector and government collaboration in overcoming difficulties.
Ch.Saikhanbileg underlined that the cabinet will do its best to create favorable business conditions and said, “The government will focus on adopting laws on business transparency, on property, and on tax laws.”
Head of the Mongolian National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MNCCI) and organizer of the meeting, Ch.Lhagvajav, said that the government and businesses will definitely overcome economic difficulties, and added that the first of new measures will be taken within six months.
“The wealth-makers will be the main factor in overcoming economic problems if they are provided with financial and economic freedom,” he underlined.
The Office of Media and Public Relations of the Government reports that Prime Minister Ch.Saikhanbileg requested that this meeting be held monthly.
Children achieving excellence granted state awards
By M. Zoljargal
January 4 (UB Post) The “Outstanding Mongolian Children 2014” awards were presented to children recognized for achievements of excellence, on December 29.
Prime Minister Ch.Saikhanbileg handed the awards to nine children who have shown a very promising future in leadership, organized goodwill projects, and displayed excellent sports performances in 2014.
A total of 33 children applied for the awards and nine were selected by the National Council for Children, headed by the Prime Minister.
Eighth grade student at School No.1 in Khentii Province, Ts.Ukhaanzaya, was named “Humanitarian Child” for her charitable project. She donated wheelchairs for 20 disabled children, 16 beds for a maternity hospital, and 22 toys for a children’s hospital ward using the income she earned from three arts performances held in Khentii and Ulaanbaatar.
World Junior Chess Champion and Asian Youth Chess Champion of Rapid Chess D.Munkhzul, who is in 3rd grade at School No.33, was named “Child who Mastered Excellent Chess Moves”.
Seventh grade student at School No.117, Z.Buyankhishig, who regularly cleans trash from the Selbe River, was named “Eco Child”. A.Anudari, an 11th grade student at Goethe Institute, won the “Intellectual Child” award for excellence in mind sports. She is an International Master of Mind Sports and broke a world record by memorizing 444 cards from eight packs.
Sixth grade student from Selenge Province, Ch.Byambajav, earned the “Driven Child” award for finishing the National Naadam Horse Race as as one of the first to make it to the finish line in 2014.
Tenth grade students from Bayan-Ulgii and Darkhan-Uul provinces, N.Altantulga and B.Sanchirnaran, who were winners at the National Naadam Archery 2014 were both named “National Sharp-sighted Child.”
A 17-year-old freshman at the Institute of Physical Education and badminton player, D.Myagmarsuren, who was raised in a childcare center, won the “Well Brought-up Child” award. B.Yondonjamts from the “Looloigiin Naizuud Club”, a program airing on TV9, was named “Artistic Child” this year.
Digital database created for weather and climate reports
By M. Zoljargal
January 4 (UB Post) The archive of the National Agency for Meteorology, Hydrology, and Environmental Monitoring has recently been digitized as part of a project funded by grant aid from Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA).
A total of 3.7 million pages of paper documentation of past reports on weather and climate in Mongolia have been digitized for input into a central database, and a specific folder of frequently used reports will be created for easy access by the public and weather officials.
The database provides a secure archive of past reports and will be accessible to a wider range of users, as the project is being set up with high-speed internet access at the agency.
The KOICA project is focused on bringing modern technology to the agency in order to secure valuable reports and improve the agency’s performance. Korea’s Jaeyoung Solutec Co., Ltd, Pukyong National University, and Mongolian Internet service provider CitiNet worked together to execute the project.
Tavan Tolgoi tender negotiation to begin today
By B. Mendbayar
January 4 (UB Post) The negotiation to establish a strategic investment agreement between the Mongolian government and the three-party consortium of China Shenhua Energy Co Ltd of China, Sumitomo Corporation of Japan, and Energy Resource LLC of Mongolia will begin on January 5.
The Tavan Tolgoi tender working group had a meeting with representatives from the three-party consortium selected as an investor to cooperate on operating the Tavan Tolgoi deposit, on December 24.
At the meeting, the sides agreed to begin the negotiations on January 5, and pledged to seek all possible means to successfully carry out the investment and development of the Tavan Tolgoi coal deposit.
Head of the working group and Minister of Mongolia M.Enkhsaikhan, Minister of Mining R.Jigjid, Minister of Finance J.Erdenebat, and Minister of Roads and Transportation N.Tumurkhuu met with the consortium’s representatives.
Representing the consortium, CEO of Energy Resources LLC G.Battsengel, Deputy CEO of Energy Resources LLC L.Oyunbat, Board Chairman of China Shenhua Overseas Development and Investment Co., Ltd Shao Junjie, and General Manager of Sumitomo Corporation’s Ulaanbaatar Office Hiroto Fujiwara attended the meeting.
M.Enkhsaikhan remarked, “The Tavan Tolgoi project requires about four billion USD in investment. In this respect, it is a world-scale project. The selected investor’s representation of three nations – Mongolia, China, and Japan – increases the project’s value.”
CEO of Energy Resources LLC G.Battsengel commented, “We would like to express our readiness to provide substantial impetus to the development of Mongolia through utilizing the experiences we have gained hitherto.”
Hiroto Fujiwara noted, “Our company has been operating in Mongolia since 1992. With regards to this project, we will focus on selling coal to nearby third markets.”
Board Chairman of China’s Shenhua’s Overseas Development and Investment Co., Ltd Shao Junjie highlighted, “Shenhua Group is an experienced entity that has implemented several international projects. Judging from projects being implemented in Southeast Asian countries, large-scale projects are more likely to thrive when implemented in cooperation with an experienced domestic company. Cooperating with Mongolian and Japanese firms, we will operate in conformity with market principles and in the scope of Mongolian laws.”
In conducting the negotiation, the parties agreed to adhere to a mutually beneficial strategy, basing the negation on trust, discussing all problematic aspects of the project, and striving to find cooperative and creative solutions to each issue.
Members of the working group informed the representatives of the criteria to adhere to in the negotiations, including keeping the status of the domestic company as a majority stakeholder throughout the entire project, retaining the ownership of the deposit by the Mongolian government, being able to sell the deposit’s products to Japanese and other foreign markets, contributing to regional development, respecting and contributing to the development of traditional Mongolian culture, and having no harmful effects on the environment.
Z.Enkhbold: Amendments aren’t necessary for the Oyu Tolgoi agreement
January 4 (UB Post) The following is a translation of the interview with Speaker of Parliament Z.Enkhbold about various economic issues, broadcasted on Bloomberg TV Mongolia.
At the last parliament meeting in 2014, you stated that Mongolia shouldn’t go with the flow and change its old practices. Can you clarify about this?
If we metaphorically say that Mongolia is a household, it consists of two types of households. One would be a household with sudden increase in income; all of Mongolia’s statistics, including economy and budget, have increased tenfold in the past ten years. Yet all that income was wasted on useless and fruitless expenses. That huge income was drained once we realized. Mongolia benefited that huge sum from raw material price spike. We didn’t enhance our productivity, develop new products, and revenue from it like iPhone and Microsoft. Mongolia’s GDP rose by 17 percent during the years when copper, metal, coal, gold and spar prices increased, and the whole world was amazed. Truthfully, we didn’t labor. Mongolia experienced a “windfall” and received a large amount of money. During that time, the budget expenditure was expanded greatly, more than the income. While income increased by tenfold, expenditure became 12 times more.
Mongolia passed budgets that didn’t have any deficit from 2006 to 2007. The following years were all in the minus zone, with deficits. Now we need to cut useless costs. Whether we like it or not, a financial disciplinary is essential. Mongolia was never this luxurious before the raw material price spike. Projects will not progress if we keep whining about everything and complaining that this law is too strict and this regulation can’t be dismissed etc.
The question is very simple. Is this service needed from the government? If we can answer, we can advance.
Budget cut is currently the center of attention. How was the 2015 budget determined?
Whether we like it or not, Parliament has to cut the budget. Instead of laying-off 10,000 employees immediately, the value of the organization should be considered and whether their services are needed. All these businesses, which aren’t beneficial for the state, don’t need to be owned by the state. There are too many businesses under the state property list that can run by themselves.
Parliament sees the economic crisis as an opportunity – an opportunity to return to reality and cut back on the wasteful budget that rapidly expanded. If revenue had continued to flow in, Mongolia wouldn’t have received this warning.
The biggest issue for the economy is foreign investment. What is the most beneficial method for attracting foreign investment within a short period of time?
Since Parliament was created, it has focused on this issue and practiced the method to repeal laws with “bad reputation”. Yet foreign investment isn’t increasing as much as we assumed it would. The reason for this is trust issues and global economic situation.
Mining played the biggest part in attracting investors to Mongolia. Mining will draw investment if raw material prices are high. When the price dropped, investors aren’t coming even with proper legal and other necessary conditions because it isn’t profitable.
The sudden inflow of foreign investment is often said to be connected to two laws approved before the Democratic Party won the election – the long-named law (The Law on Prohibiting Mineral Exploration and Extraction Near Water Sources, Protected Areas and Forests) and the Strategic Entities Foreign Investment Law. Both laws raised issued during the previous government and formed negative attitudes. But this isn’t the core of the issue. It was Oyu Tolgoi (OT).
Most of the four billion USD foreign investment was aimed at OT. An industry was established for certain purposes (not for attracting investment) within specific time for the OT project. Naturally, investment ceased as the construction finished. The first stage of the industry was completed and there were investors for the second stage. But issues rose regarding it. Small investors of OT sat back to wait for what OT would do.
Investment drastically decreased when the establishment was completed on time. This shows how fatal a four billion USD investment can be for a small country like Mongolia. If Mongolia had an economy with flow of 40 billion USD, ten percent of the inflow and outflow wouldn’t be significant. But our economy is worth ten billion USD in total. The government and Parliament should’ve executed projects to attract more investors and provide necessary arrangements. Their mistake was becoming happy while observing OT. They didn’t account that OT investment would run out and weren’t ready to immediately carry out other projects such as Tavan Tolgoi and railway projects, after the deadline for OT investment.
Foreign investors are very curious about when OT would advance and have been raising the issue many times at foreign meetings and forums. Although it’s impossible to name an exact time, can you make estimations for OT’s recovery?
Parliament is holding a specific position about the OT issue. The government approved of forming agreements in 2010. Work began and first stage was completed. For the second stage, Mongolia agreed to an agreement to work for 60 years without funds from Mongolia. Mongolia had the resource and OT had the technology and funds and so we partnered. Now they should do the work since Mongolia fulfilled all of its obligations. Changes aren’t necessary in the agreement. They should look ahead and do the work. They should fulfill their agreements and the mine should operate without stopping. If investment is required for the second stage, OT should find it and begin operations of the industry. Mongolia isn’t responsible for that task. Mongolia isn’t an investor. The mine is on our land and we’ve even made several adjustments at the request of investors. Now they should just do their work.
Is it a misunderstanding that Mongolia requested to make changes in the investment agreement?
The Mongolian side requested it in 2012. The request was rejected. Now, investors want to make changes in the agreement. For instance, changing the method for determining royalty. All companies have the same method. A method adjusted only for OT shouldn’t be created. It’ll be a violation of the law.
If there’s issue in Mongolia’s royalty calculation, we can discuss it, but the General Department of Taxation can’t create exclusive method or regulation for OT. The Tax Law is applied to every company so we don’t have the right to change it.
How do you see megaprojects such as Tavan Tolgoi and coal gasification? Prices of Mongolia’s main raw materials have fallen. What are some worrisome issues for the future?
We need to fix our mistake of forming an economy too dependent on raw material prices. Or Mongolia will be impacted again if prices drop in the future.
Mongolia exports a ton of 60 percent concentrated iron ore for almost 50 USD and a ton of coking coal for 70 USD. If these two raw materials are combined and processed, a ton of that semi-raw product (pig iron) will reach up to 500 USD. The price of pig iron is relatively stable at 500 USD and yet the prices of its two component raw materials fluctuate drastically. Coking coal used to cost 170 to 180 USD per ton but now it has dropped to 70 USD, while the price of pig iron remains the same. Mongolia wouldn’t have faced crisis if we had combined the two and exported it.
Can this be considered as a disadvantage of not being industrialized?
It’s because Mongolia isn’t industrialized that Mongolia is being affected by the prices of raw materials. Mongolia wouldn’t have faced crisis if it had processed raw materials and exported it. We’re experiencing the loss of not becoming industrialized. Although we raised the topic so many times, nothing was done.
How is the outlook for Mongolia in terms of opportunity?
There are opportunities for Mongolia to recover. It all comes down to whether we have the courage and persistency to strive towards the correct direction. I don’t think the global economic situation will improve. It’s good if it does improve. Most importantly, once infrastructure and narrow gauge railway track projects finish, the cost of coal will be reduced. All of the work will finish halfway through the year and wagons will start running.
Power station extensions are almost completed. New power stations will be constructed. We’re discussing about oil refineries. These little improvements will become a huge development and make positive changes for Mongolia. Big developments aren’t created in a single day. It requires certain amount of time and goes through certain stages. Mongolia is working towards establishing its structure and becoming a country independent of external forces.
It’s better not to expect so many positive changes in 2015. Projects to fight the economic crisis will be carried out. Small changes will build up into a huge advantage and big advancements.
Source: Daily news
Burte Chono Awards highlight best of 2014
By M. Zoljargal
January 4 (UB Post) The Mongolian National Olympic Committee hosted the annual Burte Chono Awards and named the top athletes of the year 2014 on December 26, after receiving votes from sports journalists.
Freestyle wrestler S.Tserenchimed was awarded the “Best of the Best Female Athletes” prize, while judoka M.Urantsetseg and wrestlers of the Women’s National Judo Team were granted the “Best Female Athletes” award.
The “Best of the Best Male Athletes” award went to judoka G.Boldbaatar, while the “Best Male Athlete” awards were granted to freestyle wrestler G.Mandakhnaran and boxer D.Otgondalai.
Freestyle wrestling coach Ts.Khosbayar won the “Coach of the Year” award. Judo coach D.Battulga and freestyle wrestling coach Ts.Tsogtbayar were named “Best Coaches.”
S.Tserenchimed, G.Boldbaatar and Ts.Khosbayar were all bestowed the State Honor a day before the Burte Chono Awards, on December 25.
The “Team of the Year” award went to the Men’s National Basketball Team, trained by O.Bayartsogt.
The “Young Athlete of the Year” prize went to promising judoka U.Duurenbayar, while B.Tumurbaatar won the “Referee of the Year” award. A total of 18 athletes were nominated for the awards.
About 100 members of the Association of Mongolian Sports Journalists voted for three nominees each, prior to the award ceremony.
The following are names of the other award winners:
Olympic Hall of the Year: Moscow Olympic Hall at School No.84
Olympic Board of the Year: Athens Olympic Board in Umnugovi Province
Olympic Official of the Year: Kh.Zorigtbaatar
Best Secretary General of Sports Committees: Ch.Davaadorj
Best Director of Sports Committees: D.Enkhbat
Sports Committees of the Year: Mongolian Judo Association, Mongolian Freestyle Wrestling Association, and Mongolian Olympic Boxing Federation
KNITWEAR Fashion SHOW-2014 launches
By B. Dulguun
January 4 (UB Post) The Mongolian Wool and Cashmere Association (MWCA) hasheld the KNITWEAR Fashion SHOW-2014.
The fashion show was organized within a project to support businesses ran by women, build their production capacity, and to promote their products to international markets. The project is aimed at selecting the best outfit of the best designers, promote Mongolian designers’ products, expand cooperation between manufacturers and fashion institutes, and support the skills and dreams of young designers.
Out of 21 designers selected from cashmere industries and companies and seven students from fashion institutes designer and vocational colleges, the first prize for professional designers was awarded to L.Amarjargal of Goyo brand, who won an internship at one of the world’s best design institutes – London Design School. Designer Ch.Chuluuntsetseg of Gobi brand came in second place, followed by designer Ch.Altantsetseg of Buyan LLC.
Out of students,S.Tsetsegdari of Citi Institute was selected as the best designer. G.Saruul and B.Odmaa from the School of Industrial Technology and Design of the Mongolian University of Science and Technology came in second and third places respectively.
The special prize of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation was given to “Yak knitwear product” by designer M.Oyunbileg from Ayas Cashmere LLC. She received a certificate and cash prize.
The MWCA expands its foreign relations by supporting national fashion industries and by partaking in international exhibitions and fairs including, Sourcing at Magic International Fair in Las Vegas, International Fashion Fair in Tokyo, Cashmere World in Hong Kong, and various international exhibitions in France. The MWCA was able to boost total sales and export of cashmere products by up to 20 percent by promoting Mongolian cashmere products at fashion events in New York and Milan in September 2014.
The MWCA studied Ethiopia’s practice for introducing its national products at international markets and is collaborating in developing new products by blending Mongolian cashmere with African hand-made cotton as well as Thai silk.
Mongolia’s great spiritual shift
By D. Jargalsaikhan
January 4 (UB Post) During my journey to India to interview His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama for the “defacto” television program, I was thinking about how I could ensure that the great Dalai Lama, the living Buddha, could bolster the aspiration of Mongolians to have a prosperous life. I had an impression that even though we have always discussed making an economic and political transition for the last 20 years, a significant spiritual shift that is also taking place has been neglected. I would like to present to you a summary of the interview that was done with the Dalai Lama about these transitions. It seems that it is only now that we are about to get out of this obscure spiritual mist.
SHIFT IN SOCIAL CONSCIENCE
My first question in the interview, which took place in a hotel room, was about the outcomes of Mongolia’s spiritual transition of 25 years being not evident enough. The main message in the Dalai Lama’s answer to this question was that Buddhism is regaining its momentum, and it is hard to eradicate the view of the religion as seen from the history of countries such as China, Russia, and Mongolia, which attempted – without success- to get rid of Buddhism and spirituality at different times in the past.
The Dalai Lama says that when he visited Mongolia for the first time in 1979, it seemed that no one held any religious beliefs. However, when he met people one-on-one, the Dalai Lama could feel that they actually were religious.
However, the Dalai Lama continued, saying that although Mongolia has transitioned to capitalism and its people are acquiring a more modern education, many are measuring development with – and being more attracted to – material wealth. Everywhere, there are many rich people who are living for tangible wealth and money. Nevertheless, as time goes by, people are coming to realize that their wealth does not bring inner peace. Those people who have realized that are seeking the meaning of life, rather than money and wealth.
The lifestyle and culture of Mongolians is inseparable from Buddhism. The Dalai Lama believes that it is one of the unique features of Mongolians and will produce the greatest impact on the great spiritual shift.
In order to maintain our traditional values as we go through this historical shift, it is important to not only profess Buddha, but to also promote the knowledge and education about why we hold such beliefs. Buddhist teachings are based on education, knowledge, and the meaning behind everything. Therefore, Buddhist philosophy, especially Buddhist psychology, is technically regarded as a non-religious education. As it is an academic area, rather than religious one, it can be used in our education system. This is one example of how we can link Buddhist teachings with modern development. The Dalai Lama says that this is how a new level of spirituality can be achieved.
The society being built in Mongolia today can be called democratic capitalism. My next question was focused on the Dalai Lama’s opinion on whether he agreed that this democratic capitalism is the best system among all that have ever been tried. He gave a much clearer and more direct answer than I expected.
The Dalai Lama says that democracy, as a political system, is the only path for the future of humanity. He explains that the true owners of the this world are the seven billion people living in it, not a political party, a religious leader, a king, or a queen. The people are always going to be there. Therefore, the Dalai Lama has put an end to Tibet’s 400-year-old tradition in 2011 by retiring from being a political leader and fully freeing himself of political duties and responsibilities.
The Dalai Lama stressed that there should be a democratic system where the people choose their political leader, who bears responsibility for them. The people must be able to replace the leader if they fail to fulfill their responsibilities. He says that, despite the occasional, few faults, a democratic system is the best.
On the other hand, capitalism is the only system that gives an individual the freedom to fully realize one’s potentials and be as creative as one can be. The centrally planned economic system does not provide such opportunities and restricts one’s aspirations to create. However, the experiences of many developed countries demonstrate that a capitalist system should be regulated with independent institutions that passes laws, implements them, and monitors their implementation. The Dalai Lama says that it is not an easy job, but it can be done with joint efforts from the people.
THE POISON OF CORRUPTION
I asked the Dalai Lama how this poison that has diffused in Mongolia can be stopped. The Dalai Lama says that corruption is a cancer that is spread throughout the world. It can be stopped when there are educated people, a healthy society, the rule of law, an independent judiciary system, and, most importantly, freedom of the press. Everything that is faulty and deceitful is concealed. It should be disclosed and available to the public. This is how everything should be. Freedom can never be forgotten. The Dalai Lama says that these things can only exist in a society where there is freedom. However, one cannot misuse freedom. He says that it is extremely important to have press freedom and an independent judiciary system.
At the end of our interview, the Dalai Lama said, “Mongolia is a free country. Your economy is growing at a sufficient rate. Of course, there are difficult issues. But, generally, I see that your country is developing. Therefore, your country has a bright future ahead. However, development should not only be looked at from a materialistic angle, but also be linked with your inner spirituality. When that happens, Mongolians can have a truly happy, prosperous life.”