Thursday, May 1, 2014

Mongolia Brief May 1, 2014

Parliament Session Discusses Measures to Intensify Economy
Ulaanbaatar, May 1 (MONTSAME) A parliament session on Thursday is to discuss six issues including a parliament draft resolution on some measures to intensify the economy of the nation.

The draft resolution has been submitted to parliament by the Government with a request of urgent discussion. Opinions and conclusions of the Standing Committee on Economy for this resolution have been introduced by the D.Zorigt MP at the session.
After the draft resolution on economic measures, MPs are expected to finalize discussions on a draft law for amendments to the law on the Government which has been submitted by the President of Mongolia Ts.Elbegdorj. S.Bayartsogt MP is to present opinions and assessments of the Standing Committee on this draft law.
The session is also expected to discuss a parliamentary draft resolution on dismissal of a Government member, a draft law to amend the law on the Government, a parliamentary draft resolution on approval of government policies on medicine, and draft laws on customs exemption and on value-added tax exemption for the Amgalan thermal plant.

Mongolian Business Summit to Be Held
Ulaanbaatar, May 1 (MONTSAME) The Mongolian Economic Forum (MEF) will organize the Mongolian Business Summit in cooperation with the government of Mongolia on June 19-21, 2014 in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
The main objectives of the forthcoming summit are to provide a comprehensive, up-to-date and sector-specific information on foreign investment environment of Mongolia; present planned Public-Private-Partnership projects in mining, infrastructure, processing industry, agriculture, wool and cashmere, food and building materials sector.
The 3-day Mongolian Business Summit will serve as an excellent platform for participants to interact directly with government officials, international investors, leading companies, and gain in-depth knowledge on Mongolian investment environment and promising business opportunities.
During the Summit, optional tours including visits to mine sites, cashmere factory, agricultural, food and processing facilities and cultural destinations will be offered.

UB Energy Charter Forum Approaches
Ulaanbaatar, May 1 (MONTSAME) The capital city will host the Ulaanbaatar Energy Charter Forum themed "Developing Renewable Energy across Gobitec and Asian Super Grid in Northeast Asia" on June 26.
The co-organizers are the Ministry of Energy and the Energy Charter Secretariat.
As supposed, investment opportunities in renewable energy potential of the Gobi desert will be presented to policy makers, international organizations, business sector representatives and other stakeholders and innovative proposal of connecting national energy grids of the Russian Federation, Mongolia, the People's Republic of China, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the Republic of Korea and Japan will also be introduced to the gathered.

Furthermore, the participants will embrace new investment opportunities, learn latest changes in the legal framework of Mongolia, hear first-hand experiences from the market operators and walk away with new ideas for investment in regional interconnection infrastructure in the region of Northeast Asia as well as will make a field visit to see a 50 MW Wind Farm project. 

Anti-Corruption TV Series Premieres
Ulaanbaatar, May 1 (MONTSAME) Starting from last week, anti-corruption TV series "Water Flows Up" premiered at Tengis Cinema in UB city.
The series has been produced by the Asia Foundation through the USAID-funded Strengthening Transparency and Governance in Mongolia (STAGE) in partnership with the Zorig Foundation, Globe International, and NTV to provide messages to the public on the negative effects of corruption, money laundering, and conflict of interest.
The 28-episode series, based on fictional characters, institutions, and events, aired on NTV beginning on April 28.
The Asia Foundation in Mongolia is committed to its work to improve lives, expand opportunities, and help societies flourish within a dynamic and developing Mongolia and across the region.

Mongolian Trade Union holds rally for voices to be heard
May 1 ( The Mongolian Trade Union is to hold a rally calling for unity at Chinggis Khaan Square (formerly Sukhbaatar Square) at 13.00 pm today, May 1st.
The aim of the rally is to voice the opinions of taxpayers and workers on numerous considerable issues. The topics include salary and pension increases, prices increases for consumer goods, labor security and demands for the implementation of a three-party negotiation including the workers Trade Union, the employer and the Government.
The Mongolian Trade Union have prompted the Government and Parliament several times to have the Confederation of Mongolian Trade Unions take measures as now several companies are firing employees during this difficult time of a flagging economy and civilians` purchasing capability is low.
The rally will also restate its demands to the Government and Parliament to create a convenient legal environment by passing a law on indexed payments to salary and pensions, clearing the salary differences between foreign and native employees and charge social insurance fees from native or foreign experts who are on contract.
At the rally, workers of the Mongolian Trade Union, 14 Trade Unions, affiliated organizations, members and people elected, elder members and representatives of female and youth members will participate. Locally there will also be a rally for unity at the same time.

Mongolia’s economic situation is worsening – what is your quality of life like today?
May 1 (Mongolian Economy) D.Baasankhuu (Chingeltei District)
Life is okay. Some people complain that life is going badly. I think they should ask themselves “why”. The economy is not so good today. If it was good, the government would have looked after its people. They are not bad intentioned people. Talking about only the negative does not make life better. There is no need to “bad mouth” when society has lots of stress anyway. 
Instead, everybody should do their own job well. Just like when I was young. We kept working even when there was a time when only salt and nothing else was available in stores. We had been working for our living, while society switched from one to another. On the contrary, these days, there are lots of young people who say life is challenging but doing nothing about it. There are three people in our family.  Our income is 600,000 tugrug per month. In my old age, I can still cover my daily living needs with my wages.
J.Seseeren (Bayanzurkh District), 
Nothing got better. My life is the same as few years ago. When my children grow bigger the need for money also grows bigger. My family has six members. My wife and I, both of us have jobs, but our wages are hardly enough for our living. There is no increase in wage. Even if there is an increase it does not catch up to inflation. Nowadays, people are getting less demanding from the Government. However, it should try and curb inflation. This would be the biggest help from the Government for its citizens.
If it is possible, the wage mechanism increase should be improved and developed. The private sectors don’t increase wages of their employees for years. In order to increase the wage, more or less, a strike is needed. If the wage gets increased by a certain percentage each year, people would have improved life and could afford some savings. 
L.Taivan (a citizen of Chingeltei District), 
The day-by-day increase in the prices makes life harder and harder. There are seven in my family. But only one of us has a job. The monthly income is 500,000 tugrug. Actually I have been looking for a job, but in vain. It is really hard to find a job for those who are over 40. People in my age group would never meet such high requirements in appearance, knowledge and education. 
There are vacancy announcements everywhere. In recent times, even waitress’s positions have very high requirements, such as fast-moving, good looking and so on. Practically, they look for someone with a university diploma. So I urge the Government to pay attention and to increase employment opportunities for people my age. 
N.Bayarmagnai (a citizen of Sukhbaatar District), 
If I have a job, I can make living. But without any job, I might die from starvation. I don’t have any job as I gave birth consecutively in the last two years. Currently, we are living on my husband’s wage of 600,000-700,000 tugrug, which is the only income. As we have young children there are a lot of extra expenses like nutrition supplements and diapers. But I need to stay home because I am still recovering from childbirth. My husband had recently got a job. Since then our life is getting a bit better. Generally, there are plenty of vacancy announcements if you really search. 
However, private sectors don’t increase their wage. They seem to have very low labor assessment. Some of my friends got apartment in 3 to 4 years after they became government employees. They say the Government supports employees for their good performance. The Government also keeps the job position when an employee is on maternity leave. Moreover, some of them give subsidies in cash and baby diapers every month. There is no way to think about apartment when we work in private sector though – it’s too hard. They always search faults to impose a fine and don’t pay the full wage.

PM Introduces to Foreign Diplomats Draft Plan for Intensifying Economy
Ulaanbaatar, May 1 (MONTSAME) The Prime Minister N.Altankhuyag Wednesday held a meeting with Ambassadors of foreign countries, heads of diplomatic missions and the media for introducing them a draft plan of 100-day works for intensifying the national economy.
Submitted from the cabinet for reforms, the draft plan is being discussed at the parliamentary session, and it reflects some 50 works to be performed in five directions such as augmenting foreign investments and activating the mineral productions.
By the plan, several works will be done to introduce a new debt system for augmenting investments, to exempt external capitals of commercial banks from interest, to reduce the tax to zero for those banks that attract investments of above USD 100 thousand, to attract investments to economic free-zones, to create a good visa condition for investors and to hold special meetings with them, the Premier said.
In the mining field, Mongolia will start to grant mineral exploration license very soon by altering the mineral law, the Premier said, adding that works of the “Asgat” silver deposit will launch after tackling some license disputes. In addition to this, measures will be taken for increasing the coal export, supporting the gold extraction, processing oil and ensuring preparation of building a Mongolia-China joint coal gasifying plant.
The Premier said the plan is expected to be adopted by parliament next week therefore the cabinet will begin the above works.

Open Discussion Takes Place for Draft Law on State Prizes
Ulaanbaatar, May 1 (MONTSAME) An open discussion on a draft law on State prizes was held at the Citizen’s Chamber on Wednesday.
According to the Presidential Decree no.15 issued on December 4, 2013, a draft law on State prizes has been implemented by a working group consisting 15 lawyers and representatives of various sectors. The discussion was moderated by Public Relations Policy Advisor to the President of Mongolia A.Ganbaatar.
The working group studied relevant legislation and laws of over ten countries including Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Germany in order to develop the law. The Office of the Parliament of Mongolia as well discussed the draft law with the Office of the President and undertook research using nationwide public opinions.

Consular Department Director Meets with Italian Official
Ulaanbaatar, May 1 (MONTSAME) In a scope of the visit to Italy on April 28-29, the Director of Consular Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Sh.Sukhbaatar met with Mr Marco Giungi, a Deputy Director General for Italian Citizens Abroad and Migration Policies of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The sides talked about new techniques and experience of the Italian Foreign Affairs Ministry on the matter of protecting rights of Italian Citizens living abroad as well as shared views on the issues concerning E-registration of these Italians, voting rights and participation of voluntary representative organizations.
Moreover, the director Sh.Sukhbaatar highlighted a significant importance of signing the visa waiving inter-governmental agreement for diplomat passport holders between Mongolia and Italy in further bilateral relations.

Draft Resolution on Building Lines of New Railways Submitted to Parliament

Ulaanbaatar, May 1 (MONTSAME) The Minister of Economic Development N.Batbayar Wednesday submitted to the Speaker of parliament a draft resolution of parliament on constructing lines of new railways.
In frames of the “New Railway” project, fundamental works for the 270 km long railways in a route from Ukhaakhudag to Gashuunsukhait have started, and about 40 per cent of the works have been completed. Thus, it is required to tackle by parliament a matter which gauge should be built for the new railways, the draft initiator said.
In order to increase the export of mining products, the country urgently needs to have a general railway network for improving the capacity of railway freight and the turnover of transit, export and import freight.
In accordance with the resolution, the gauge of 1,435 mm will be erected in the routes of Tavantolgoi--Gashuunsukhait; and Sainshand--Zamyn-Uud, Khoot--Bichigt; and the gauge of 1,520 mm--in the routes of Mogoin gol--Erdenet; Tavantolgoi--Sainshand--Baruun-Urt--Khoot--Choibalsan; and Khoot--Nomrog.  

Minerals Law to Be Revised

Ulaanbaatar, May 1 (MONTSAME) Mining Minister D.Gankhuyag submitted on Wednesday a draft amendment to the minerals law to parliament Speaker Z.Enkhbold.
Despite the adoption of new laws and regulations aimed at favorable investment environments, investment into the geological exploration sector of the nation is still unsatisfactory, says the law developer.
The draft amendment calls for database setting up for funds raised from international stock markets, improved agreements between mining license holders and the local government, and clearer roles and responsibilities of government agencies and mining license holders.

Finance Ministry to Organize "Open Day"

Ulaanbaatar, May 1 (MONTSAME) The Ministry of Finance is planning to organize “Open Day” in Chingis Square on May 4.
It will aim to advertise realization of action plan of the government and to inform operation and policy of the Ministry to the citizens.
Apart from the Ministry, the measure will bring together the General Department of Taxation, the General Customs Office, international organizations that are carrying out projects in the Ministry, the Mongolian Insurers Association and the Institutes of Certified Public Accountants and of Appraisers.
During the event, the gathered will be provided with information about policy and action of the Ministry and E-taxes system, taxation advice, and services of car taxes and insurance.

Draft Bill on Economic Development Main Direction Submitted

Ulaanbaatar, May 1 (MONTSAME) Economic Development Minister N.Batbayar submitted on Wednesday a draft bill on main direction of Mongolia’s social-economic development for 2015 to parliament Speaker Z.Enkhbold.
The socio-economic development main direction aims at realization of goals included in a plan of measures plan to implement Government’s 2012-2016 Action Plans under National Development Policies based on the Millennium Development Goals. The draft bill has five chapters of macroeconomic policies, policies for sectors to support the economic growth, policies for regional development and environment, policies for human and social development, and policies for governance, legal reforms, foreign affairs and defense.

Minister of Justice Submits Bill on Conflicts

Ulaanbaatar, May 1 (MONTSAME) The Minister of Justice Kh.Temuujin Thursday presented a draft law on conflicts to the Speaker Z.Enkhbold.
 The Minister said the bill has been formulated, maintaining a concept and legal techniques of another draft law on crimes, and it consolidated administrative conflicts and responsibilities over them regulated by some 220 current laws of the country. The draft law on conflicts has 16 articles, and some principal clauses are correlated with the general clause of the law on crimes, the Minister said.    

Golomt Bank Successfully Hosted “Investing in Mongolia” Summit in New York, NY, USA

May 1 (Golomt Bank) One of the most important factors of the Mongolian economic development is to increase Foreign Direct Investment (FDI.) Hence, with the initiation Golomt bank and Golomt Securities LLC, “INVESTING IN MONGOLIA” summit has been successfully co-hosted by New York Society of Security Analysts (NYSSA) and internationally renowned law firm, Shearman and Sterling LLC on April 24th of 2014 in New York City. 
New York Society of Security Analysts (NYSSA,) one of the leading and the largest of the 135 societies among CFA Institutes worldwide, has over 8000 members which represent Certified Financial Analysts (CFA,) internationally renowned banking and financial institutions.
Along with the members of New York Society of Security Analysts (NYSSA), investment banks and financial corporations attended “INVESTING IN MONGOLIA” summit where they received the most up to date detailed information on current investing environment of Mongolia, legal and policy framework, mining, infrastructure, real estate industries and financial market as well as having panel discussion on each sector. 
Representatives of the Mongolian largest governmental and private enterprises; namely, Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi LC, APU LC, Sod Mongol group, Ochir-Undra group, Oyuny Undra group, Sharyn Gol LC, has introduced the scope and specialties of their operations and projects while exploring new investment opportunities and laying new venture relationship opportunities ahead.  Furthermore, Prima Fluorspar Corp, Mongolian Growth Group, and Khot Infrastructure Holdings which are currently investing in Mongolia, shared their experiences of expanding their businesses successfully in Mongolia. 
“INVEST IN MONGOLIA” summit was one of the milestone events in driving international investor’s attention into Mongolia while providing pleasant opportunities for businesses to start new venture relationships with international businesses. 

Spring Sowing Begins Here

Ulaanbaatar, May 1 (MONTSAME) Spring sowing began nationwide on Thursday.
The Industry and Agriculture Ministry says that the sowing is planned to end on May 25. This year, the nation is planning to sow grain in 373.5 ha, and is in a need of 48 thousand ton of grain.  The Government reserves have 33 thousand ton of grain, which will be allocated through the Agriculture Support Fund, to farmers who pay 20% prepayment. The outstanding of loans may be paid back from incomes of wheat harvests in autumn. The Agriculture Support Fund is planning to buy the wheat from farmers with a price of 460 thousand togrog per ton.
For this spring sowing, 2,100 tractors and 1,700 seeders will be operational in crop fields, says the Ministry.

Scientific Conference on IT in Education Sector to Run

Ulaanbaatar, May 1 (MONTSAME) A scientific conference themed “Introduction ways of information technology /IT/ in education sector” is to run here, on May 6-7.
The action has been co-organized by the National Council for the UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization /UNESCO/, the Institute for Information Technologies in Education of the UNESCO, the Ministry of the Education and Science, the State Universities of Education and of Science and Technology.
This conference will be attended by foreign experts, administrations and teachers of all level educational organizations of Mongolia.
The meeting will be mainly focused on two direction matters including IT in education sector- motion training and its open resource materials, and initiation on training method improvement .
Moreover, the action will intend to exchange foreign and domestic innovations and experiences on successful IT introduction in education sphere, to spread information, to publish related guidance then to deliver it to staffers of all level educational organizations and to support their initiatives.

World Press Freedom Day will be marked

May 1 ( World Press Freedom Day has been marked since the United Nations General Assembly declared it on May 3rd in 1993.
World Press Freedom Day has been celebrated to raise awareness of the importance of press freedom, one of the basic principles of human rights, make it a public domain, protect the right of the press to be independent, commemorate journalists who lost their lives for press freedom, and protect the rights of journalists.
This year the World Press Freedom is marked with theme of “Press Freedom for the Good of the Future” in Mongolia. World Press Freedom Day was first marked in Mongolia at the Mongolian Free Democratic Journalists Association headed by Mongolia`s Cultural Leading Figure Ts.Dashdondov.
Year by year the range of media organizations are growing and World Press Freedom Day is popularized. In 2012, 469 media organizations including 126 newspaper, 92 magazines, 72 radio stations, 149 television channels and 30 web sites were running actively in Mongolia.
However, 469 media organizations for only 3 million people are too much but now the number of web sites that have been created since then are uncounted. Even though Mongolia is full of media sources, a reader is still not provided with a good sense of what is happening and what happened unless he or she reads from several media sources.
Despite the fact that the investment has increased in media in Mongolia, overall media is seen as a stairway to enter politics, to have power more than business. As a result the number of copy desks that make its owners ideologies is increasing in Mongolia.
Mongolia`s Media Law still does not include a concept of independent copy desk.  In Mongolia, a press is heavily influenced or largely owned by prominent political and business figures. Journalist who are obliged to report news and feature based on the principles of journalism are seen as a serfs.
Mongolia`s media still needs fair competitiveness and there is still no sign of creating a fair competitiveness environment.

The 130 Million USD Debt to Chalco Not to Be Covered within June 2014

May 1 ( The regular monthly "Transparent Mining" press conference was held on April 30, 2014, where Deputy Minister of Mining O.Erdenebulgan, Director of the Policy Implementation Regulation Department at Ministry of Mining B.Batkhuu, Chairman of Petroleum Authority G.Ulziiburen, and CEO of Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi JSC Ya.Batsuuri have attended.
Here below some highlighted responses from the press conference.
- A draft bill to amend the Minerals Law was revised at Government-level proposed by Mining Ministry and now it is ready for submission to the State Great Khural (Parliament). To clarify, the amendments cite, the mineral exploration licenses will be allocated in only those areas allowed and approved by the state. By doing so, investments would be increased and mineral resources would accumulate, also economic capacity and its immune conditions would be improved.
- The new price tariffs to import fuel from Russian Rosneft Company were agreed. Negotiations between “Rosneft", "Rosneft-MMG" representatives and Mongolia’s Petroleum Authority, oil importer companies were conducted on April 23-26, 2014.
During the meetings, fuel import tariffs set in March 2013 were renewed based on world market indexes, which were reflected on the Singapore Stock Exchange prices. Consequently, the border fuel import price would be decreased at certain level.
- In the first four months of 2014, a total of 2,040 kg of gold was delivered to the Central Bank of Mongolia. This show an increase of 1.8 times compared to the same period of the previous year. As of April 28, 2013, a total of 1,134.5 kg of gold was commissioned to the Bank.
- Agreement to export 450,000 tons of coal to China was established between Mongolia and China Shenhua Bayannaoer Energy Co., Ltd on April 17, 2014. According to document, one ton of coal is to sell at 48.5 USD, where 17.4 million USD or 80% of total estimated 21.8 million USD have been transferred into Mongolian account and the whole transportation will be made only via Tsagaan Khad Customs Control Zone, Khanbogd Sum of Umnugovi Aimag. In addition, two parties negotiated to supply coal at regular basis and sales agreement is undertaking.
- Mongolia’s Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi JSC established an agreement with Chalco (China Aluminum International Trading Co., Ltd) in 2011, where a unit price per ton of coal to export to China was set at 70 USD. Due to agreement, Mongolia deposited 350 million USD in advance and as of today, 130 million USD is left so far. However, it was estimated to cover the leftover by within June 2014, but it foresees to postpone. The reason is a large amount of coal was accumulated at Chalco warehouse. The world coal market is bad that caused of poor sales, therefore it seems Mongolia cannot pay off the debt to Chalco on time.

“Double Coat” Bill Not Supported by Parliament of Mongolia

May 1 ( At the plenary session of the State Great Khural (Parliament) held today on May 01, 2014, a final version of the draft bill on “double coat” submitted by the President Ts.Elbegdorj was revised.
The final revision made at the Parliament’s State Structure’s Standing Committee meeting was introduced by MP S.Bayartsogt and following the discussion 74 parliamentarians out of 76 polled whether to support or not.
At the voting, majority or 39 members agreed not to support the bill, in other words, some parliamentarians simultaneously holding two posts, member of Parliament and a member of Cabinet, will not be dissolved and parliamentarians ratified to recall the draft bill to its initiators.
At the first discussion on “double coat” held on April 17, 2014, the bill was backed to be effective from July 01, 2014.
The next issue to discuss was to dismiss Minister of Justice Kh.Temuujin from his post, the bill was submitted by MP O.Baasankhuu, but ruling Democratic Party group at the Parliament refused to revise on the ground that some clarification is needed and requested a 5-day postponement.

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