Saturday, February 7, 2015

Mongolia Brief January 9, 2015



'The government will not take out commercial loans anymore'
By B. Khuder
The state budget for 2015 is being discussed at the plenary session. Since the debt-ceiling was the main subject of controversy, Prime Minister Ch.Saikhanbileg said, “If we don’t want to raise our debt ceiling, we will move to another aid program and increase our debt in other ways. All decisions have a trade-off. The government cut the budget amendment by 900 billion MNT. If the State Great Khural  thinks that further cuts are possible, there will be no objections. The government will not take out any more commercial loans. But there is no guarantee that the private sector will be investing. There are only two choices: whether to do nothing and increase the debt-ceiling, or do something and lower it.”

On the same matter J.Batsuur said, “I accept the fact that there are investment decisions that lead to immediate results, as well as there are unbearable circumstances that have to be endured.” L. Enkhamgalan added, “We need to change the way we think. Kindergartens and schools can continue without government financing but, by thinking out of box, there still can be a way for them to get the financing. Just next to the state's expensive financed schools and kindergartens there are cheap and high-quality ones that are being built by the private investors. Social welfare money for mothers of large families and child benefits, these are not cares and concerns. This is just a way to increase the population.” To which Ch.Khurelbaatar replied, “There is a solution to solving the problem without increasing the debt ceiling. If there is a desire, by making the brain work, there can be a way. If there is no way, then let the deputy ministers quit. It is difficult to give out the money for child benefits considering all the different categories.”
In response to Ch.Khurelbaatar’s criticism, Ch.Saikhanbileg said, “If you yourself have the desire and wish to use your head, then everything is open for collaboration. There is nothing about a tax increase. There was no word said about using a tax increase in order to get out of the crisis.” Regarding the debt increase Minister of Finance J.Erdenebat said, “Whether we cut the budget by 400 billion MNT, or we issue bonds. There is no other way.”
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EMC overfulfills goals of 2014
By B. Amarsaikhan
Ulaanbaatar, January 9 (MONTSAME) The Erdenet Mining Corporation (EMC) last year exploited 29.433 million tons of copper ore and processed their 26.126 thousand. Copper and molybdenum contents in the concentrate were increased as well, reported EMC Thursday.
Many parameters of EMC production have exceeded the expected levels, thus making the tax performance for the State Budget fulfilled by 100 percent. In specific, the Corporation accumulated MNT 372.4 billion in the State Budget, MNT 76.1 billion in the locality budget, and a total amount of MNT448.4 billion in the central budget of Mongolia.
The country’s main “breadwinner”, the EMC miners intend to improve a capacity in 2015 through commissioning the extension of crusher section in the Concentrating plant. This will also serve to increasing the contribution of the EMC to State Budget.
As the Corporation gives much concern for its social responsibilities, it plans to involve its workers in Housing Program and form an award fund for rewarding and motivating the workers who take initiatives and lead the innovation within the organization. The EMC is also working towards forming an adequate system of monitoring and reporting in a scope of the Law on Glass Account, which came into force on January1.

Proposal to raise scholarship GPA criteria to 3.0
January 9 (news.mn) Today, the Mongolian Student Union, together with students’ representatives reported changes to monthly allowances for students. For the 2014-2015 academic year, it was calculated that a total of 121,224 students will be receiving 91.3 billion MNT in national and inventive scholarships. Starting from 2012, for the past 3 years, more than 300 billion MNT has been given as as student social welfare.
During these times of economic difficulty, lawmakers have said that the current status of student allowances hinders the country’s budget. Therefore, the following suggestions were proposed by the student's union.
-Change the regulatory requirement of having at least a 2.0 GPA in order to receive a national allowance to a GPA requirement that starts at 3.0 and higher. By doing this, up to 62,780 students will get 48.8 billion MNT and 32 billion MNT will be saved.
-Stop providing students pursuing their master's and doctoral degrees with national and incentive allowances. This will lead to savings of up to 4.8 billion MNT.
-Revise rules concerning educational institutions by monitoring their quality and increase the number of requirements.
-A suggestion was proposed to add to and change the rules when awarding students with national and incentive allowances, by not only looking at GPA scores, but also taking into consideration other factors: an individual student’s income level, family status (whether one is an orphan or not), the presence of disabilities, whether or not students come from rural areas, and whether  or not they actively participate in social and community activities.
When students from the Mongolian Student Union were asked what they spent their allowance money on, 60 percent responded that through their contracts with university administration, the money directly went to paying their tuition fees.
About 20 percent said that they spent their money on paying for housing and to purchase essentials.
Ten percent of responders said that they used the money to buy things on credit, such as laptops. 
A certain percentage of money saved from the national and incentive allowances is suggested to be spent on student-oriented projects and reforms in education, as well as on building libraries and dormitories for students, and inviting the world’s leading scholars to Mongolia.

First Foreign Visit of New Prime Minister of Mongolia Anticipated to Japan
January 9 (infomongolia.com) An introductory meeting on export loan by Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) and Mongolia-Japan Economic Partnership between Private Sectors will be organized at the "Consensus" Hall in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia scheduled at 01:30 pm on January 12, 2015.
The meeting is hosted by the Foreign Ministry as part of preparations of upcoming visit of the Prime Minister Ch.Saikhanbileg to Japan, where presentations will be delivered by Ministry of Finance, Mongolian correspondent banks of Trade and Development Bank (TDBM), Golomt Bank, Khan (Khaan) Bank, Xac (Khas) Bank, State (Turiin) Bank and representatives from Mongolian National Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Opening remarks will be delivered by Foreign Minister L.Purevsuren and Deputy Finance Minister S.Purev will be presenting speech on “JBIC Export Loan”, and Vice Director of Economic Cooperation Division at Foreign Ministry A.Ariunaa on “Mongolia Japan Economic Cooperation Issues” and “Mongolia-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement” respectively.
Related:
PM to visit Japan next monthnews.mn, January 10

Mongolia’s Customs and Border Ports Administrations to Be Merged into One Organization
January 9 (infomongolia.com) In 2013, a Law on Border Ports of Mongolia was ratified by the State Great Khural (Parliament) of Mongolia, thereafter a total of 26 border checkpoints with temporary and permanent operations were unified under General Border Ports Administration.
So in November 2014, following the Cabinet decision to perform economical savings in the State Budget by abridging the number of public administrative organs obliged by the Parliament, the General Customs Administration was authorized to take all functions and duties over General Border Ports Administration.
According to structural changes, it was agreed to amend the Law on Border Ports and submit for Parliament approval at the Cabinet meeting held on January 07, 2015.
The amendment states to change the General Customs Administration into the Customs and Border Ports Authority of Mongolia with purposes to ease collaboration with our main trading partners at customs and border checkpoints.

Cabinet Meeting in Briefs: January 07, 2015
January 9 (infomongolia.com) - It was agreed to submit a bill to the Parliament on joining to the Antarctic Treaty. The issue was first discussed and supported at the Cabinet meeting held on February 07, 2014 and the bill was developed with consultations of Security and Foreign Policy Standing Committee of the Parliament.
- The Minister of Population Development and Social Protection S.Erdene introduced on implementation works on Government Resolution No.255/2007 cited “Program to restore reindeer farming and improve reindeer herders’ livelihood”, the President’s Decree No.42/2013 and Government Resolution No.168/2013.
According to Minister S.Erdene, 32 tasks were implemented to date under the Program and in order to guarantee the right of Tuvan indigenous to study in their native language, Minister of Education, Culture and Science is obliged to accelerate a program to implement on opening the Tuvan Language Center.
Tuvan indigenous are the national minorities of Mongolia majority living in Khuvsgul Aimag.
- At the Cabinet meeting it was resolved to dismiss the Director of the Agency for Fair Competition and Consumer Protection O.Magnai from his post and to appoint Mr. Tumurbaatar AYURSAIKHAN, who used to chair a Reform Committee of Mongolian People’s Party.
Also, Chairman of National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) T.Dulamdorj was dismissed and succeeded by NEMA Deputy Chairman, Colonel Tuvshin BADRAL.

Minister of Environment Meets AF Country Director
By B. Khuder
Ulaanbaatar, January 9 (MONTSAME) The Minister of Environment, Green Development and Tourism D.Oyunkhorol MP Thursday received a delegation led by Ms Melony C.Lindberg, the country director of the Asia Foundation for Mongolia.
Paying attention to the environmental issues, the US Asia Foundation (AF) has been cooperating with Mongolia since 2007 in the responsible mining sector. In 2010-2013, the AF implemented a first phase of a project on augmenting sides’ participation in environment reservation. The project’s main objective is to tackle environmental urgent problems by increasing a participation in it of mining companies, local inhabitants and administrations.
The project’s second phase commenced in 2014, and the environmental rehabilitation method has been worked out, being harmonized with small-sized mining within the project. "It already has been tested on 73 hectares areas in eight sums and has good results, proving that such rehabilitation can be performed on small-sized mines," said Mr Jonathan Stacey, a manager of the environment project. Based on the method, it is intended to make rehabilitation plans for small-sized mines together with the local administration, he added.
D.Oyunhkorol thanked the AF for realizing the effective project and programme. Underlining a requirement of putting the mining sector into economic circulation in times of the economic difficulties, the Minister said any actions should be fitted with people’s tradition of saving nature and ideology, otherwise it might provoke a conflict between mining companies and people.
The Minister emphasized that Mongolia intends to realize a development of the responsible mining and to introduce the latest technologies of environmental rehabilitation. She underlined an importance of starting supporting the eco system such as planting trees and creating a multilateral national system of saving environment.
There are many civil society institutions for environment reservation, but very few of them have been founded at people’s initiatives, so it is vital to support civil proposals and initiatives, the Minister said.
Ms Lindberg backed positions and ideas of the Minister. Then the sides agreed to re-establish the cooperation memorandum between the Ministry and the AF in order to make the collaboration more fruitful.

R.Gonchigdorj receives prize named after constitutional court
By B. Khuder
Ulaanbaatar, January 9 (MONTSAME) On occasion of the 23rd anniversary of the current Constitution of Mongolia, a Vice Speaker of parliament R.Gonchigdorj was awarded Friday the prize named after the Constitutional Court.
The prize went to him for his contribution to forming of the culture of cherishing the Constitution, to popularizing the Constitutional ideology, and to developing the power of the Constitutional Court.

Mongolian judoka will compete in the Olympic Games for Kazakhstan
January 9 (news.mn) President of the Mongolian Judo Association (MJA) M.Bukhbat and the first vice-president of the Kazakhstan Judo Federation (KJF) Samat Zhylkybaev signed an MoU on cooperation, on January 9th.
The MoU on cooperation between the judo associations of Mongolia and Kazakhstan concluded multiple significant issues, including Mongolian judoka Otgontsetseg Galbadrakh's deal to compete on Kazakhstan's behalf. The judoka is one of the world's best female athletes in the women's 48 kg division.
Mongolian judoka Urantsetseg Munkhbat tops the IJF Prestige World Ranking List in the women's 48 kg with 3,180 scores, and Otgontsetseg Galbadrakh is ranked 9th on the list.
Mongolian judoka Otgontsetseg Galbadrakh topped the qualifications for judo at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games by winning silver at the 2013 Grand Slam Moscow, becoming winner at Grand Prix Astana 2014, and grabbing bronze at Judo Grand Prix Qingdao 2014.
The first 22 athletes on the world ranking list are entitled to compete in the 2016 Olympic Games.
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German Mongolist Oliver Korff to receive Kublai Khan Gold Medal
January 9 (news.mn) German scholar of Mongolian studies Oliver Korff is being honored for his invaluable efforts and achievements in Mongolian studies with the presentation of the Kublai Khan Gold Medal, the highest award offered by the Mongolian Academy of Sciences. The award was presented to Korff at the Mongolian Academy of Sciences today, on January 10th.
Oliver Korff is a member of the International Association for Altai Studies, which aims to study the origin of language, a significant subject in Mongolian studies.
Oliver Korff is a prominent scientist and author who has devoted his life to pursuing knowledge of Mongolian studies. He has been the leader of a six-country international research team of linguists who have written a five-language dictionary and published a two-volume dictionary with five different indices in 2014.
The dictionary is a unique publication as it is not a traditional dictionary but a comparative work of Mongolian, Tibetan, Manchurian, Chinese, and Turkish dialects and made a traditional Eastern dictionary available to modern readers.
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Ulaanbaatar to continue Fighting Air Pollution
By B. Amarsaikhan
Ulaanbaatar, January 9 (MONTSAME) The Ulaanbaatar City administration will implement a construction of houses connected to central heating or with partial and independent heating resolutions, and provide mortgage loans for those interested in purchasing the eco-houses, through cooperation with the Bank of Mongolia.
It has been reflected in the directions for 2015 in ecological and green development sphere within the 2013-2016 action plan of the city. The measure aims to reduce a number of families that induce great amount of smoke.
This year, the Regulation for the Areas of Air Quality Improvement will be pursued. In its frames, every family in those areas must use refined stoves and processed fuel. In violation of the rule, fines are be imposed. Car induced smoke matters will be considered in a scope of the joint programs run by the city administration and JICA.

EMC "Tightens its Belt" Preventing Economic Risks
By B. Amarsaikhan
Ulaanbaatar, January 9 (MONTSAME) Director-general of the Erdenet Mining Corporation Ts.Davaatseren has given direction to cut out expenses when necessary except for the regular consumptions needed for the technical operations of the plant.
It has become one of the measures being taken for preventing the potential economic risk due to the decline in global copper prices, which went down to USD 6,170 per ton, and increases in the inflation and the rate of US dollar against the Mongolian Togrog.
The company’s management costs, business trips, car fares, communication costs and the services performed by foreign companies, as well as the costs for social and cultural activities will be economized.
The EMC produces approximately 500 thousand tons of copper concentrate, which equals to 120 thousand tons in pure copper. The economic plans for 2015 have been estimated on the assumption that a ton of copper will be marketed at USD 6,600. Current economic conditions can bring an income deficit of about USD 50-60 million to the EMC.

Owners responsible for snow and ice removal within 50 meters of their property
January 9 (news.mn) Property owners in Ulaanbaatar are required to remove snow and ice from the areas of their property where visitors, tenants, and the general public might travel frequently.
A resolution issued by the Capital City Citizens' Representative Khural instructs all property owners in the city to carry out their obligations to clean snow and ice from areas within a 50 meter radius of their property. The Public Services Ulaanbaatar brigade sent 325 entities, companies, and property owners running businesses and conducting activities in the city to carry out their obligations for snow and ice removal to prevent injury from slips and falls.
In the case of a visitor experiencing a slip or fall walking in or out of a building due to a property owner's failure to remove ice and snow in the area, the injured party is entitled to make a formal complaint with the property owner.

Doctors and teachers are demanding pay raises
January 9 (news.mn) Doctors and teachers are holding a demonstration at Chinggis Khaan's Square, demanding pay raises of up to 60 percent, today. The demonstration comes just after the Labor Ministry and Finance Ministry made statements saying that salary increases were not possible in 2015-2016.
Today's demonstrators promised the attendance of 10,000 demonstrators but over 200  teachers from secondary schools and doctors from state hospitals attended.
The demonstrators held signs that read: “We demand a pay raise up to 60 percent", "We are not the nation's debt payers", "The cuts should begin with government spending", and "We want to live a good life at home“.
The teachers and doctors claim that they are paid an average of 500,000 MNT a month for their work, but these wages are not enough to make a living, and not enough to pay loans or housing leases.
The demonstrators said. "We are demanding a pay raise to cope with the present economic hardship. We will continue the demonstration if the government does not accept our demands. The government planned 500 billion MNT for salaries in the budget, but it is still uncertain where the money has gone.”
Some critics feel that it is not the right time to hold this kind of demonstration, when the government is planning 905 billion MNT in cuts and 15 percent layoffs of civil service workers.
The President of the Confederation of Mongolian Trade Unions, Amgalanbaatar, commented, “Never before has the government passed such a budget that missed social issues. There is no good way beyond a pay raise, so we will focus on this issue."

Gal Undesten dies in prison
January 9 (news.mn) United Movement of Mongolian Rivers and Lakes and Fire Nation (Gal Undesten), an environment and human rights coalition, held a joint press conference on January 9th.
At the press conference, one of the leaders of Fire Nation coalition, Ya.Hundaganai, reported, “One of the activists of Gal Undesten who are serving jail time, S.Dashtseren, G.Boldbaatar, Ts.Munkhbayar, andD.Tumurbaatar, has died in prison. The activist S.Dashtseren died due to health problems in prison on December 30th.  The health of another other activist, G.Boldbaatar who is being detained in Detention Center 421, is now in critical condition."
During the press conference, leaders of Fire Nation coalition announced that State Central III Hospital believes that G.Boldbaatar is not able to serve time in jail due to his health conditions, but forensic doctors were against the assessment, barring him from leaving the prison.
G.Boldbaatar is now taking on a hunger strike in prison.
According to a report by Gal Undesten,  a total of 56 prisoners died in jail in 2014. And Gal Undesten claims that all those incidents were caused by decisions 313 and 316, made by the Justice Minister and Health Minister, dating back to 2002. Gal Undesten blamed the legislative and justic system for the death of activist S.Dashtseren and announced they claimed his life.  S.Dashtseren's family has also sent a letter to President Ts.Elbegdorj.
Gal Undesten announced that it would continue their fight for Mongolian land and territory and demanded the release of environmental activists G.Boldbaatar, Ts.Munkhbayar, and D.Tumurbaatar.

Mongolia Provides Food Relief to North Korea by Sending 104 Live Cattle
January 9 (infomongolia.com) On January 08, 2015, Minister of Foreign Affairs, L.Purevsuren affirmed on a TV interview that Mongolia sent 104 live cattle to North Korea by Air Koryo’s aircraft to support the country with food assistance.
The shipment of above domestic animals was conducted from Choibalsan, Dornod Aimag, because live animals are prohibited to enter in the capital city’s international airport (Chinggis Khaan Airport) and in his interview, Minister L.Purevsuren clarified the following details.
“President of Mongolia paid an official visit to the DPRK over a year ago and in the meantime, Mongolia decided to join the Program of global fight against hunger. North Korea is a country suffers food shortages. Nevertheless, Mongolia chairs the food organization for Asia-Pacific regions in 2014-2015 and in this regard, the most priority issue to solve is in North Korea, where the country losses harvests and faces with famine.
Last year, we provided a food relief to North Korea by delivering 1,850 tons of flour. Our Foreign Ministry launched a Fund for International Cooperation and the latter aid was provided by this Fund. We plan to continue this campaign to help the people of North Korea, but not this year because of budget constraints.
During the Presidential state visit to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in October 2013, Mongolia pledged to assist with not only a food assistance but also to help on resolving food problems. In this term, instead of shipping food end-products like flour and meat, we will help to develop their animal husbandry. North Korea’s climate is similar to Mongolia and it would be unfazed to acclimatize Mongolian animals.
The 104 cattle were shipped to North Korea by their aircraft from Choibalsan Airport on December 29, 2014 and before delivering, Mongolia’s Ministry of Food and Agriculture conducted veterinary examinations on each animal and veterinarians from North Korea have also checked all animals.
We plan to collaborate with North Korea in the years to come by training their students at the University of Agriculture. By assisting to North Korea, Mongolia fulfills its duty on international arena. Before, we agreed to supply domestic animals up to 10 thousand heads including goat and sheep. To note, not only Mongolia alone is participating in this campaign, other international organizations have also been involved. For instances, Mongolia has been asking the United Nations since last year to provide assistance on assigning the cost of delivery”.
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President of Mongolia Calls for National Unity
January 9 (infomongolia.com) On January 09, 2015, President of Mongolia Tsakhia ELBEGDORJ delivered speech at the plenary session of the State Great Khural (Parliament) addressing the audience and the people of Mongolia.
According to the Provision 3 of Article 33 of the Constitution of Mongolia and the Presidential full powers, President of Mongolia may attend the sessions of the Parliament at his own discretion and submit proposals concerning vital issues of local and foreign policies in the country.
In his address, President Ts.Elbegdorj noted, “Since the farms in Mongolia were privatized, our herders have increased the number of livestock heads two-fold and in the end of 2014, the total number of livestock across the country reached 51.9 million of heads.
Besides, farmers have also performed a thriving success by harvesting a record-level of crops in 17 years.
Our country's trade balance was positive last year despite of fact that economical shrinks and investments have influenced.
Nevertheless, we produce and create more internally to face the economic crisis and this raises optimism to local manufacturers and entrepreneurs. Also, we have seen enough that it is difficult to find puzzles, but easy to break up.
Therefore, let us be united”.
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Stock Exchange News for January 9
Ulaanbaatar, January 9 (MONTSAME) At the Stock Exchange trades on Friday, a total of 3,279 units of 20 JSCs were traded costing MNT five million 286 thousand and 452.
"Hermes center” /719 units/, “State Department Store” /656 units/, “Merex” /500 units/, “Baganuur” /201 units/ and "Aduunchuluun” /200 units/ were the most actively traded in terms of trading volume, in terms of trading value were "Darkhan khuns” (MNT 699 thousand and 300), "Tavantolgoi” (MNT 697 thousand), “Material impex” (MNT 678 thousand and 270), “Gobi” (MNT 577 thousand and 200) and "Baganuur” (MNT 562 thousand and 800).
The total market capitalization was set at MNT one trillion 405 billion 229 million 891 thousand and 836. The Index of Top-20 JSCs was 14,532.43, decreasing 101.27 units or 0.69% against the previous day.

B.Ganbold to Compete in Para World Championships
By B. Khuder
Ulaanbaatar, January 9 (MONTSAME) An athlete of the national selected team for para skiing B.Ganbold has started an intensive training in the “Sky Resort” camp for competing in the Para Cross- Country World Championship that will take place January 23-February 1 in the USA.
Used to exercise with athletics, B.Ganbold has gained some achievements in para skiing in just two years. He won a silver medal in the Olympic qualification tournament in 2013 in Salt Lake City, the USA, and it was the very first medal for Mongolia in international para skiing competition.
He was qualified to compete in Sochi 2014 Para Winter Games by taking 18th place in the World championships among some 60 racers.
In the Para Winter Olympics, he competed in three distance categories.

"The History of Chinese Culture" Book Presented
By B. Amarsaikhan
Ulaanbaatar, January 9 (MONTSAME) Mongolian scholars of Chinese studies have welcomed their first book in Mongolian which compiled the 5,000 years history of Chinese culture, and provided very clear and simple explanations. The opening ceremony ran Wednesday at the Mongolian-Chinese cultural center of Ulaanbaatar.
The Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of China to Mongolia Mr Wang Xiaolong arrived to extend his gratitude to the authors. He stressed that this book bestows its unique contribution to the relations of the two countries.
A donation of MNT 26 million made by the China Bank office in Ulaanbaatar for the new book was handed at the ceremony.
An author D.Undraa said that the book has two chapters--Culture of Chinese Ancient Dynasties, and Contemporary Culture of China--which provide comprehensive information about crafts, clothing, traditions and custom arts developed through the course of the period from Xia Dynasty to the modern era, and about people’s culture and great construction in cultural industry of China.

Mongolian Journalists Pay Tribute to ”Charlie Hebdo”
January 10 (infomongolia.com) On the day of its latest issue of Charlie Hebdo's publication, a French satirical weekly newspaper, two masked gunmen attacked Charlie Hebdo's offices in Paris that resulted in the deaths of 12 people and many more wounded including police officers on January 07, 2015.
Across the world, news outlets are standing with Charlie Hebdo and mourning for the journalists and police officers shot dead.
Mongolian journalists, public as well as representatives of the French Embassy and Mongolian Journalists' Union have expressed their condolences for the journalists by lightning up Zul (candles) and holding "Je Suis Charlie - I Am Charlie - Би Бол Шарли" placards at the Chinggis Square on January 09, 2015.
In memory of Charlie Hebdo victims, President of Mongolian Journalists' Union B.Galaarid said, “Ordinary journalists were killed for expressing their views and become victims of inter-religious conflicts. But what happened does not mean to interrupt journalists’ words. They will not kill freedom of the press and Mongolian journalists are mourning for the victims and staying together with the world”.

“Tsagaan Sar 2015” Exhibition and Fair Trade in Inner Mongolia
January 10 (infomongolia.com) Mongolian National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MNCCI) in collaboration with Administration of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, the PR of China are organizing the "Tsagaan Sar 2015" exhibition and fair trade in Inner Mongolia.
The joint event will be hosted in central exhibition center of Erenhot (Erlian) on January 24-28 and the “Tsagaan Sar 2015” exhibition will be continued in Hohhot, China from January 30 to February 10, 2015.
In 2015, the first day of Mongolian Traditional Lunar New Year commonly known as Tsagaan Sar (White Moon) in Mongolian language is observed on February 19th and this year, the first day of Mongolian Lunar New Year coincides with Chinese Lunar New Year.
The Mongolian Lunar New Year in 2015 is called the Year of Blue Sheep and the February 19th falls on Thursday and the Tsagaan Sar Festival is an official public holiday lasts three days, so Mongolians would have a four-day consecutive holidays from Thursday through Sunday.

2015 Senior Freestyle Wrestling State Championship Commences
January 10 (infomongolia.com) The Senior Freestyle Wrestling State Championship commenced in the Central Sports Palace, Ulaanbaatar being held on January 09-11, 2015.
The Championship is ongoing in the Men’s 57, 61, 65, 70, 86, 97 and 125 kg, and Women’s 48, 53, 58, 60, 63, 69 and 75 kg respectively. In 2015, the Senior Men’s Freestyle Wrestling State Championship is being organized for the 38th edition and the Senior Women’s Freestyle Wrestling Championship for the 14th edition and Mongolia hosted its first Championship 50 years ago.
On October 09-13 1965, the first Senior Men’s Freestyle Wrestling State Championship was organized in Ulaanbaatar, where a total of 141 wrestlers from 23 Aimags, Sports Committees and Institutes had competed in 7 weight divisions.

2015 Senior Judo State Championship Commences
January 10 (infomongolia.com) The Senior Judo State Championship commenced in the Buyant-Ukhaa Sports Complex, Ulaanbaatar being held on January 09-11, 2015.
The Judo State Championship has been organized in Mongolia since 1978 and the 38th edition is being hosted this ye`ar, but female judokas have been competing from 1993.
The Championship is ongoing in the Men’s 60, 66, 73, 81, -100 and +100 kg, and Women’s 48, 52, 57, 63, 70, -78 and +78 kg respectively.

37 million MNT worth of hay rots in storage
By M. Zoljargal
January 9 (UB Post) A recent inspection of Tuv Province Council revealed that around 15,000 packs of worth up to 37 million MNT that were stored away hay have gone bad. Around 30 to 40 percent of the total hay, or 4,500 to 6,000 packs, have been completely decayed as they were preserved in a very contaminated area next to a sewage treatment plant.
The estimated damage is up to 37.1 million MNT, according to the council.
Tuv Province purchased 16,000 packs of hay through a 99 million MNT funding from the state budget in 2013 and has been storing it on the order of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture.
Approximately 1,000 packs have been used last winter, while the remaining 15,000 packs have been stored at Bayankhangai and Zuunmod soums of Tuv Province.
The Ulaanbaatar City Council leaders discussed the issue on Wednesday and decided to impose legal charges against those responsible for the poor preservation of the hay.
The meeting ordered the province agriculture officials to relocate the remaining hay that can be used before April 15 in order to avoid further waste.

Mongolia not included in new Beijing-Moscow high-speed railway
By B. Mendbayar
January 9 (UB Post) New high-speed railway from Moscow to Beijing will be laid along a route linking Moscow to Beijing through Yakutia, Irkutsk, Khabarovsk, and Vladivostok, according to Russian major media outlets.
Russia and China had agreed to build the railway in October 2014. Measuring about 7,000 kilometers, the railway will become the world’s longest high-speed railway, three times longer than the world’s current longest high-speed railway from Beijing to China’s southern city of Guangzhou. The railway will cut train travel time between Moscow and Beijing from seven days to 48 hours. Moscow Time has reported that the new trains will travel at an average speed of 400 kilometers per hour.
During an interview, the head of Russian Railways’ subsidiary High-Speed Rail Lines, Alexander Misharin, noted that the railway will cost about 153 billion USD, half of which is expected to come from Chinese investors.
Last week, Russian television stations aired “Moscow-Beijing high-speed railway project introduction” which refuted earlier claims about the railway passing through Mongolia.
The new railway had been directly discussed by the prime ministers of the two countries, according to a Romanian media outlet, which stated that the railway was a top priority for both governments of the two nations. The media also reported that Russia had engaged China Railway High-speed, a subsidiary of state-controlled China Railway. Previously, Russia had commissioned the French firm Alstom for the initial work on the rail line between Moscow and Kazan. Business Insider attributed the change on the Russian side to France’s failure to deliver its order of Mistral ships in late November and commented, “it appears the Russian government took it personally and decided to switch that branch of the construction of the high-speed railway to CRH, which is now in charge of the whole line, from Moscow to Beijing.”
The new route will allegedly replace the mighty Trans-Siberian railway connecting St. Petersburg and Vladivostok, which doesn’t go through Kazan – a city that in recent years has become more and more central to the Russian economy – and takes about 15 days to complete.

Summary of 2015 projects for Ulaanbaatar ecology and green development sector
January 9 (UB Post) In 2014, The Ulaanbaatar Mayor developed the following projects for the ecology and green development sector in relation to the 2015 social and economic objectives and action plan for 2013 to 2015.
1. Projects for reducing air pollution
The City Governor’s office will collaborate with the Mongolbank on constructing energy-efficient apartments with advanced thermal technology, and encourage people interested in purchasing these apartments to get mortgage loans. This project will intensify works for housing the ger area and decreasing the number of households that pollute the city.
Projects for exacting the “Regulation to be complied with in the city region for improving air quality” will be completed. This regulation ensures that every household located in the respective region use improved stoves and refined fuel. If a household doesn’t comply, appropriate accountability measures will be taken by the city authority.
Measures against air pollution caused by vehicles will also be carried out with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)’s project team.
2. Environmental projects
According to the Forest Management Plan, afforestation and reforestation works will be organized at 230 hectares of land in the city green zone, a study of forest pest and diseases will be conducted at 80,000 hectares of land, and a project for fighting against forest pests and diseases will be reinforced within 5,000 hectares.
Green areas will be set up along 10 hectares near Turgen River in Khan-Uul District to protect from shifting sands and desertification. Forest cleaning has been planned for 20 hectares of land in the city green zone within the framework of the Forest Management Plan.
For protecting clean water sources, projects to upgrade springs, renovate fences protecting upgraded springs, and setting up security fence system at the local water resource protection area in Uliastai City have also been planned.
3. Projects for industry and agriculture sector
According to the Government Resolution No.72 of 2012, regarding measures to support herders and domestic manufacturers, land issues for the Industrial and Technological Parks (ITP) have been resolved and the ITPs have been established in Emeelt and Nalaikh Districts in 2014. These projects were completed within the resolution to relocate leather goods manufacturers to the new industrial zone by 2017, as well as the Government Resolution No. 249, passed in 2013 regarding measures for leather goods manufacturers.
In the 2015 city budget, 2.5 billion MNT has been issued for relocating leather goods manufacturers this year.
In 2014, some legal documents and an intensive livestock sub-program have been developed and approved with the target to supply 80 percent of Ulaanbaatar dairy demand domestically. In 2015, action plans of these documents will be developed. A Loan Guarantee Fund will be founded in partnership with the Livestock Protection Fund and projects to engage farmers, and fish and poultry farm owners in soft loan through the fund to support milk production.
Further projects for 2015 will be organized for providing capacity building training and consulting services to Ulaanbaatar’s agricultural manufacturers; providing support to ensure food safety of vegetables and final products; improving pasture management near the capital; and developing a five-year program with the Austro-Mongolian Business Association for a project intended to increase agricultural production.
4. Projects to support small and medium-sized enterprises
In total, 14 projects have been planned within “Made in Ulaanbaatar 2015” Program. These include:
• “Made in Ulaanbaatar 2015” Program
• Introduction of data clusters and facilitation of activities
• Meetings and conferences with professional bodies
• Forum for the respective sector
• Meeting with tourist souvenir manufacturers
• Planning events for celebrating the International Children’s Rights Day
• Attending the Western China International Trade Fair
• China-Mongolia-Russia Economic and Trade Cooperation Fair – 2015
• Senior Producer event
• Canton Fair
• Made in Ulaanbaatar – 2015 Fair
• Planning of UB BRAND-2015 Award Ceremony
• Developing draft budget for Made in Ulaanbaatar – 2015 Fair and ensure its implementation
In total, 444 people will be working on these projects.
Also, activities of district centers for supporting SMEs will be intensified and construction work of Bayangol District Center to support SMEs will begin in 2015. The sector is planning to hold capacity building trainings for 1,220 SME owners and businesses, providing consulting services to 2,800 SMEs, and collaborating with some 3,500 entrepreneurs.
5. Prevention work against infections and parasitic diseases contagious from animals
Over 17 million animals in the city will be included for prevention and treatment measures against fatal viral diseases and parasitic diseases from animals; veterinary preventive disinfection will be conducted in 16.4 million square meter area; 6,122 animals will receive diagnostic tests for diagnosing infectious diseases; and tests will be taken from 31,087 animal food products, raw material, and blood and urine samples and verified to ensure food safety. If these comprehensive veterinary preventive measures are completed successfully, animal diseases will decrease by over 40 percent and food safety and public health will be improved.
6. Projects for developing Construction Material Industrial and Technological Park in Nalaikh District
A new Construction Material ITP is being built in Nalaikh District to introduce scientific achievements and advanced technologies to the construction sector, and increase import substitution products in accordance with the Resolution No. 148 of the Presidium of the City Council.
By completing this park that will determine the near term economic and social development of Nalaikh District, the capital and Mongolia, construction material production in Mongolia will almost double, production of Nalaikh District will multiply by 32 folds, and approximately 1,500 new workplaces will become available.
The initial production is planned from 2016. Developing infrastructure blueprints, constructing temporary facilities, and holding a selection process of industries for the first stage have been set as targets for this year.
7. Projects for establishing Light Industrial Technology Park
In 2015, a total of 182 billion MNT will be issued for constructing a Light Industrial Technology Park in Emeelt District. The following provides details of where the 182 billion MNT will be sourced from:
• 1.6 billion MNT from the city budget for setting up fences around the park and obtaining temporary power system and water supply;
• 30 billion MNT from private sectors for constructing a thermal plant with a capacity of 103 MW;
• 30 million EUR investment from the European Bank for Reconstruction & Development for a water treatment plant that purifies 20,000 cubic meters of water a day;
• Engineering network will be set up with the remaining government bond money approved by the Parliament Resolution No.74 (75 billion MNT)
8. Development work for the National Garden Park
The National Garden Park is planning to establish an eco-hall and a children’s library, complete landscaping work around its square, and begin constructing a children’s playground, with support of the capital city of South Korea, Seoul.
9. Projects to reintroduce beavers
The capital is working with the objective to reintroduce beavers to Tuul River and raise a healthy environment in 2015. Projects to reintroduce beavers began in 2011, and for starters, 16 beavers have been habitated at Zaan River. The next objective is to continue habitating beavers at Zaan River and rivers that it connects to, including Terelj and Tuul Rivers. A study work will also be conducted to monitor the diversity, distribution, location and numbers of mammal species near Zaan, Terelj and Tuul River basins.
Source: ulaanbaatar.mn/content/show/11131

Taxpayers have rights to allowances and exemptions
January 9 (UB Post) The Mongolian government has started trimming the state budget in connection with the current economic crisis. There are expectations of changes to social welfare and exemptions for personal income tax among the public at a time when people are in need of stable income and assets.
People who purchased apartments before February, or who have built houses, and families with students are entitled to tax refunds. There was no changes to the social welfare and exemption rule of personal income tax this year, which means that people who meet the requirements above are able to receive tax refunds.
Over 36.5 billion MNT was spent on tax rebates going to 66,000 people last year, an increase of 16,000 since 2013. As public knowledge about tax refunds increases, the state faces more and more demands for refunds.
Aside from income tax, laborers pay 10 percent income tax, property taxes, property sales income tax, lottery income tax, and taxes on art, performance, and sport monetary awards. Everyone who has paid these taxes are entitled to a refund.
In accordance with clause 16.1.12 of the Law on Personal Income Tax, real estate buyers are entitled to tax refunds equal to 10 percent of 30 million MNT. In other words, three million MNT will be given back to buyers for real estate purchases. But this doesn’t mean that a buyer will see a refund of three million MNT within the year. Depending on how much taxes were paid that year, taxpayers will get a refund of three million MNT within three to four years.
To qualify for the refund, taxpayers have to provide documentation of how they earned the money to make their real estate purchase. This requirement is challenging for tax payers. Even if they took out a mortgage loan, they need to prove how they acquired the loan and how they provided collateral.
Refunds for tuition fees and exemptions are less complicated and easier to apply for. If a taxpayer’s child studies at university here or abroad, they are entitled to a refund of a specific percentage of the tuition fees paid. Students who work to pay for their tuition are also entitled to this allowance, which is 10 percent of their total tuition.
Source: http://economy.news.mn/content/200348.shtml

O.Sainjargal: 34 percent of Oyu Tolgoi and 51 percent of Erdenet Mine should be used to establish a company
January 9 (UB Post) The following is an interview with economist O.Sainjargal, highlighting the current economic crisis and ways for overcoming it.
Can you tell us about what you think is the cause of Mongolia’s economic crisis?
Mongolia uses the most expensive money. It has a two-digit interest rate. The interest rate of the funds from bonds isn’t as low as politicians say. A nation using such expensive money will have to increase product prices, which will cause inflation to rise.
Weren’t politicians saying that only Mongolia was able to get the lowest interest rate with securitized mortgage bonds?
Bank interest rates in Mongolia have reached 15 to 16 percent, so a five percent interest rate will seem soft. This may sound less compared to developing countries. Mongolia isn’t developing at the moment, but it can if it utilizes its natural resources equivalent to approximately 1.3 trillion USD. It requires investment of four to five billion USD, approximately 10 trillion MNT, to mine a large deposit. The total balance of Mongolia’s banking system is 20 trillion MNT. This is nowhere near the amount needed for completely utilizing Mongolia’s mining resources.
Isn’t that why the government issued bonds?
In the end, a bond is still a loan. The government took this loan and is spending it by itself. There’s a saying that the government is the worst manager. As long as people are in the government, they will use their connections to settle issues, give and receive bribes, and cause other problems. That’s why it’s under constant speculation.
How can all these issues be resolved?
There’s only one way out – to develop the stock market. Investment can be drawn from two sources. But Mongolia is using only one source. Developing banking and the stock market will help resolve financial issues. Mongolia has become stagnant because its banking market isn’t able to generate four to five billion USD for mining large deposits. Mining deposits based in a stock market is the best resolution.
A large sum of money was used to develop the Mongolian Stock Exchange (MSE) to raise a stock market when large mines were being exploited. Why hasn’t Mongolia advanced and remained in its current state?
The MSE was founded in 1990. To this day, it has only functioned to privatize. Projects in recent years haven’t been successful because the stock market hasn’t developed fundamentally. Issued IPOs have failed and several banks have gone bankrupt. Firstly, we need to get rid of the concept of considering the MSE as a stock market. How can the stock market develop if an investment fund that makes up 60 to 70 percent of the stock market exchange isn’t formed? A draft bill for founding this fund is being discussed only now. Mongolia doesn’t have a bank that will intermediate our stocks in international markets. If you look in depth at trade, there isn’t a market originator with its own funds. It’s unfortunate that politicians thought that the stock market would develop if the MSE was renovated, when required conditions haven’t been met. Now, Mongolia’s created these conditions so opportunities for developing the stock market have become available.
You just said opportunities for developing a stock market have opened. In your opinion, what should be the first step?
Mongolians need to change their way of thinking. Before anything, they should stop thinking that individuals have to own everything and completely lose everything. Businesses and the government are accountable for huge risks because they try to own as much as possible. The Mongolian government gobbled up 34 percent of Oyu Tolgoi (OT) shares as if only they had to own it. Now, they’re suffering the cost. Instead of getting so many shares, they could’ve set a high royalty rate to live plentifully on collected royalties. Yet, they’ve been talking too much about dividends and ended up in this situation.  Shares are discussed after working successfully. Although OT sold its shares, the company increased its expenses to avoid giving out dividends.
Bond repayment will start in 2017, but the economy fell and Prime Minister Ch.Saikhanbileg announced a cut to welfare funds. Currently, rumors about Mongolia selling its OT stock are spreading. Can you comment on this?
Fundamentally, it all started wrong, and now only a short time remains to fix it. I don’t think the government or the PM should expect much. The stock market is essentially raising money with shares. Personally, I believe that shares that aren’t being used should be put into circulation. Mongolia has unused shares – the 34 percent of OT. Also Mongolia has run for too long on the dividends of its 51 percent in Erdenet Mining Corporation shares. No one can deny that Mongolia’s economy will recover if these two stocks are combined into a company and its shares are put up for trade, generating money. Almost everybody is aware of OT.
International companies determined that a 34 percent share of OT equals 98 billion USD. Erdenet Mine is history. If these shares from these two companies are combined into a company and its shares are sold, money can be raised from anywhere. This is the best method for resolving the economic crisis, without increasing the debt ceiling. As a result, OT’s stagnant 34 percent share will no longer be stagnant. The other 66 percent, which doesn’t belong to Mongolia, is able to profit. Rosneft is also generating money. Why can’t Mongolia also think like Russia or Rio Tinto?
Revenue from this should first be used to build a copper smelter. Even a ministry responsible for this issue has been established.
Investors of Tavan Tolgoi mine have been announced. Does this mean that mining work will start soon?
The government is left with only one issue regarding Tavan Tolgoi mine – the ownership. The winners of the tender have to invest four to five billion USD. I’m fascinated to know where this much money will be acquired from. When searching for this money, the selected corporation mustn’t impose on Mongolia’s ownership. Issues will arise if it tries to get money by using our shares as collateral. It’s unclear if the strategic investor is trying to acquire money by securitizing their operation or by securitizing Tavan Tolgoi mine.  This should be made more specific.
Source: Uls Turiin Toim

T.Battsetseg: Every message from Mongolia became my strength
By B. Tungalag
January 9 (UB Post) The following is an interview with Mongolian beauty pageant contestant T.Battsetseg, who competed at Miss World 2014.
How did you feel when you were taking part in Miss World 2014? Mongolia was very excited when you were on television during Miss World 2014. Although you were not crowned, you competed very well and promoted Mongolia.
I felt very proud. I tried my best because I took on a responsibility on behalf of all Mongolians. Mongolia supported me very well when I was at Miss World 2014. Several Mongolians supported me from the audience seats. When they raised the national flag of Mongolia and supported me, I almost broke into tears.
Also, I tried to promote Mongolian customs and traditional clothes to all nations when I was dancing in a Mongolian traditional garment. I am very proud that I am Mongolian.
What was the hardest moment? Was there any language barrier or problems?
I knew the arrangement of the competition. That is why it didn’t cause significant problems. Mongolians sent me a lot of messages and encouraged me. Every message from Mongolia became my strength.
What have you been doing since you came back from Miss World 2014? Do you get lots of invitations from the media?
I had a lot of work after I returned to Mongolia. I gave a number of interviews to various media. Also, I received a job offer.
What are you planning to do in 2015?
I celebrated the new year with my family. My mother helped me most when I participated in Miss World 2014. I want to express my gratitude to my family, especially my mother. I am planning to do charity work and I want to support beauty pageant contestants who want to participate in the next Miss World.
It is not easy to be a beautiful and attractive woman. When did you choose this difficult path?
I wanted to become a model when I was a child. I have been participating in beauty competitions after modeling for ten years. It is nice that people respect us and that we become someone’s role model. It was very special when foreigners called me a Mongolian woman who glorified Mongolia to the world.
Are you active on social media such as Facebook and Twitter?
I need more free time to spend on social media and share my opinions with others. But I don’t have enough free time. I am not active on social media.
I tried to read people’s support, suggestions, and judgments on the Internet during Miss World 2014. Girls want me to give them advice through the Internet. I try to help them if I have free time.
How often do you answer your social media friends’ questions?
Always.
Really? Celebrities don’t have much connection to their fans, readers, and friends.
I always answer them.
What advice do you have for young models entering the fashion world?
Don’t give up and go ahead. Be patient and work hard. If you follow this advice, success will come to you. I like the motto “Endure, trust, and wait. Then, victory is yours”.

Mongolian skiers to compete in 2015 Winter Universiade
By B. Baatar
January 9 (UB Post) Seven Mongolian skiers are to compete in the 2015 Winter Universiade, under coach of the national skiing team B.Battulga.
The Mongolian national team includes International Sports Master B.Byambadorj, and B.Amarsanaa, B.Achbadrakh, O.Gantulga, E.Ariuntungalag, A.Enkhtuul and J.Khaliun.
The 27th Winter Universiade will take place in two countries. The biathlon, cross-country skiing, Nordic combined, and ski jumping tournaments will take place in Slovakia, from January 24 to February 1.
Alpine skiing, curling, figure skating, ice hockey, and snowboarding tournaments will take place in Granada, Spain, from February 4 to 14.
Mongolian athletes will compete in cross-country skiing in Slovakia.
Mongolia first took part in the 1991 Winter Universiade, held in Sapporo, Japan.

‘Autumn Wind’
By B. Narantuya
January 9 (UB Post) Artist and Cultural Merit Laureate Ts.Narangerel is presenting his solo exhibition “Autumn Wind” at the Union of Mongolian Artists, through January 17. The exhibition has over 70 paintings, including studies and oil paintings that were created by the artist over the last two years.
Ts.Narangerel has worked as a teacher in the field of monumental art at the School of Fine Arts of Mongolian State University of Arts and Culture for many years. He is an experienced and influential artist who has participated in many national and international exhibitions.
The exhibition includes pieces with the theme of Mongolian nature as well as paintings that he created during his tour in Europe. Visitors to the gallery have the opportunity to experience travel across two continents, riding the “Autumn Wind”.
Ts.Narangerel paintings feel alive, capturing the exact view and mood of their landscapes. All of his paintings were simply beautiful, incorporating warm and soft colors. The paintings called “Venice”, “Hill Shadow”, “London Street”, and “Rainy Summer” made me feel like I was standing in the places captured on canvas. His paintings left me with warm feelings and made me miss the rain and summer during these cold winter days.

Trimming social welfare allowance, is it a good move?
January 9 (UB Post) Prime Minister Ch.Saikhanbileg’s statement about trimming the social welfare budget led to rumors among the public about what it would mean, especially for students and women.
The Government for Solutions has admitted that it is impossible for the state to earn 7.1 trillion MNT in income and is attempting new ways to manage the budget.
Among the cuts, the most costly item on the budget was identified as the national and promotional grants for students, spending for which has grown to over 307.2 billion MNT over the last three years. According to the current law, the national grant is issued to students with GPAs of 2.0 or higher. The budget allowed for spending of 68.7 billion MNT on the national grant and 9 billion MNT on promotional grants. Overall, 77.7 billion MNT was reflected for the student allowances in the 2015 budget.
Through the PM’s budget amendments, eligibility for the national grant was increased to a minimum GPA of 3.0, saving the state 33.7 billion MNT.
As planned, 50,206 students will receive the national grant and 30,861 students will be offered promotional grants.
Undergraduate students, graduate, and postgraduate students receive these grants. But in reality, master’s degree and doctoral students are often people who have already started building their careers. Mongolia’s poor are not the majority of people pursuing higher education.
Looking at the numbers, there are 13,094 master’s students and 2,460 doctoral students. Their GPAs are often high. Right now, one billion eight hundred million MNT is dedicated to graduate and postgraduate student grants.
According to the PM’s statement, children will no longer receive the monthly state allowance of 20,000 MNT if their parents’ combined monthly income is more than one million MNT. As a result, the children’s monthly allowance will be issued to only 60 percent of all households with children under 18. The cut to this program is 95 billion MNT.
Mothers who are the recipients of the Order of Glorious Mothers and whose children have turned 18 will stop receiving the allowance promised to them.
Pregnant women who are employed will be able to receive maternity leave salaries for seven months after they give birth, and unemployed pregnant women will get a state allowance from the fifth month of their pregnancy for 12 months. The cut to this program is 100 billion MNT.
The state has permanently stopped receiving applications from new mothers and banks have stopped distributing the welfare allowance.
Over 178,600 people work as state servants and 15 percent of them have been laid off. The job cuts started with the ministries and governor’s office. Laying off over 1,700 workers during this time of economic hardship has been the most damaging change.
It seems like our PM hasn’t found any effective measures to save our ruined economy.
No one asked the state to give children a 20,000 MNT monthly allowance, or for cash grants for the Order of Glorious Mothers. These were election promises meant to garner public approval. But now, parliamentarians and high ranking authorities are breaking those promises.
There are very few people who are angry about national grants intended to drive success in students. But on the other hand, the public would be happy if the state put restrictions on financing the luxurious lifestyles of high ranking authorities. State organizations have spent the following amounts from the state budget, according to financial reports from the National Audit Office from 2011 to 2013:
Housing allowances for government officials:
over 12 million MNT
Rewards and recognition:
Rewards and recognition: 5.3 million MNT
Domestic and overseas travel:
1.1 million MNT
Over 500 state owned and private companies were involved in these studies and these organizations are using 4,013 automobiles, most of which are expensive.
The authorities should trim their own budgets before cutting society’s welfare allowance.
Source: www.news.mn/content/200473.shtml

Athletes will be bestowed with State Merit
January 10 (news.mn) President of Mongolia Ts.Elbegdorj will present sports athletes with awards on the 103rd anniversary of Restoration of National Liberty and Independence Day on December 24th.
The athletes who were nominated for the state awards are the 2014 World Judo Champion G.Boldbaatar, the 2014 United World Freestyle Wresting World Championship S.Tserenchimed and Bronze medalist of the 2012 London Olympics S.Nyam-Ochir.
And National female judo team coach Sh.Tsevelmaa, national freestyle wrestling team coach Ts.Khosbayar will be awarded with State Merit Coach.

Authority for Fair Competition and Consumer Protection is to address redundancy
January 10 (news.mn) Former Chair of the Committee for the Reform Movement in the MPP, T.Ayursaikhan, new head of the Authority for Fair Competition and Consumer Protection, was officially appointed to the new position at the most recent cabinet meeting.
T.Ayursaikhan has announced that the first thing he will handle is to the issue of redundant positions at the agency, regarding the government's guidance, as soon he takes office.
The new head of the authority said, “The government approved a program for strategy and structural changes for government agencies. The government agencies and organizations need to cope with the program. Redundancy should be addressed. Due to the guidance directed by the government, the Authority for Fair Competition and Consumer Protection is expected to cut positions by 15 percent and be left with 36 staff members."

Demands to end cuts to social welfare for mothers
January 10 (news.mn) The plenary session meeting of parliament has been busy discussing budget revisions for 2015.
The changes include cuts to the 12 months of social welfare benefits for pregnant and nursing mothers who are entitled to receive prenatal and postnatal allowances provided by Social the Social Welfare Fund for a 7 month allowance and only after the birth.
The revision also plans to cut allowances for recipients of the Mongolian Mother's Glory Order 1st and 2nd class.
With the cuts the government expects to save 90 billion MNT that from the budget for social welfare for children and 30 billion MNT on benefits for mothers.
These cuts have received strong criticism from the public. Female MPs object to the decision and delivered a demand to end the cuts to social welfare for mothers and children.

Working group to audit Bank of Mongolia
Speaker of Parliament Z.Enkhbold backed MPs who suggested establishing a working group to audit the Bank of Mongolia during the discussion of 2015 budget revisions during Thursday's plenary session.
MP G.Uyanga objected to the cut of allowances for mothers and children and commented, "Authorities are getting fat while civilians are tightening belts on spending. In such hard times, the Bank of Mongolia has distributed 60 to 100 million MNT to directors of its departments and offices.”
The Speaker wanted an official reply from the Bank of Mongolia on the issue raised by MP G.Uyanga. First Deputy Governor of Bank of Mongolia B.Javkhlan replied, “The report is unwarranted. There is no bonus granted except an annual performance bonus equal to a month's pay.”
The suggestion to create a working group to audit Chinggis Bond and Samurai Bond spending was backed by Speaker Z.Enkhbold.

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