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Monday, December 22, 2014
Headlines in Italic are ones modified by Cover Mongolia from original
MMC closed flat Friday at HK$0.405, +1.25% that week
Peabody Among Final Two Bidders for Mongolia Coal Mine
By Michael Kohn
December 18 (Bloomberg) Peabody Energy Corp. (BTU) and a group consisting of Energy Resources LLC (975), China Shenhua Energy Co. (1088), and Sumitomo Corp. (8053) are the two remaining bidders for a contract to develop Tavan Tolgoi, one of Mongolia's largest coking coal deposits.
Government of Mongolia Undertakes Selection Process of Strategic Investor to Develop Tavan Tolgoi Coal Deposit – InfoMongolia, December 18
TRQ closed +0.7% to US$2.86 Friday, -17.58% MoM
Turquoise Hill Sees Meeting 2014 Production View After Fire
By Jay Miller
December 18 (Bloomberg) -- Turquoise Hill sees 2015 production from Oyu Tolgoi 175k-195k metric tons copper, 600k-700k oz in concetrates.
* Cites "minor differences" in mine schedule, design for changes from 2014 technical report
* Sees 2015 capex $230m
Oyu Tolgoi 2015 production forecast cut – MINING.com, December 20
Turquoise Hill Announces Dismissal of US Class Action Lawsuit
VANCOUVER, BC--(Marketwired - December 17, 2014) - Turquoise Hill Resources (NYSE:TRQ) (NASDAQ:TRQ) (TSX:TRQ) today announced that on December 16, 2014, United States District Court Judge Lorna G. Schofield dismissed the consolidated putative securities class action lawsuit that had been filed in the Southern District of New York against the Company and certain of its officers and directors in December 2013.
The lawsuit sought to recover damages that it claimed were attributable to alleged misstatements about the Company's financial performance arising out of revisions to its recognition of revenue on coal sales made by its partially-owned subsidiary, SouthGobi Resources, Ltd., as previously disclosed on November 8, 2013.
In her opinion, Judge Schofield found that the plaintiff's allegations "do not support an inference that this error was intentional" or that the Company or the individual defendants "furthered the error, condoned it or were even aware of it until steps to review and ultimately correct it began."
IFC Expresses Readiness to Finance Second Phase of Oyu Tolgoi
December 17 (InfoMongolia) On December 16, 2014, Finance Minister of Mongolia, Mr. Jargaltulga ERDENEBAT received a delegation from the World Bank Group's International Finance Corporation (IFC) headed by IFC's Director for Asia and the Pacific, Mr. Vivek Pathak.
During the meeting, Minister J.Erdenebat appreciated the IFC for been supporting to implement Mongolia's long term development goals, helping to deliver the country's key industries of mining and agricultural raw materials to the world-class products and expressed his willingness to further intensification of its activities carried out in Mongolia.
In response, the IFC representatives agreed with proposals and emphasized that both sides should discuss on how to expand cooperation and in which sectors the IFC should focus its activities.
Also, the IFC delegates pledged to continue its activities in agriculture, banking and finance, manufacturing, and telecommunications sectors. Moreover, the International Finance Corporation affirmed that its position to support the development of Oyu Tolgoi by allocating finance in collaboration with other investors is remained and expressed its hope that the second phase of OT's underground development would be started soon.
HAR last traded A$0.12 Thursday, -20% MoM
Haranga: Entitlement Issue Prospectus to Raise Up to A$1.44 Million
December 17, Haranga Resources Ltd. (ASX:HAR) -- For a non-renounceable entitlement issue of 1 New Share for every 3.26 Shares held by those Shareholders registered at the Record Date at an issue price of $0.018 per New Share, to raise up to $1,444,417 (Offer).
The Offer is fully underwritten by Golden Rain Holdings Limited. Refer to Section 8.3 for details regarding the terms of the Underwriting Agreement.
GUF closed flat at A$0.037 Friday, -55.42% YTD
Guildford: Strategic Alliance Extended with Noble, Orchard Capital, Formal Operational Review Commenced
December 19 -- Guildford Coal Limited (Guildford or the Company) (ASX: GUF) is pleased to confirm its strategic supporters, Noble Group (Noble) and Orchard Capital Partners (OCP), have agreed to participate in and support a strategic review of the Company's operations both in Mongolia and Australia. This will involve a ground up review of Guildford's projects and as part of this process the finance facilities between the parties have been extended to allow the review to proceed in full with the interests of all stakeholders in mind. Formal documentation for the extension and structure of the facilities is currently under negotiation and will be completed by 31 December 2014.
As part of this process, Noble and OCP have also agreed to provide additional working capital of approximately A$12m which paves the way for the Company to ramp up production at the BNU Mine in Mongolia over the next 8 weeks (which coincides with winter demand in Northern China). This production is in accordance with previously announced production targets.
The non-executive members of the Board will be undertaking the strategic review of Guildford, its operations, assets and management, in conjunction with Noble and OCP. This is expected to be finalized by the end of February 2015. The outcomes of the strategic review will be announced once complete.
The Board are confident the outcomes of the review will place Guildford in a strong position to develop its Mongolian assets during 2015 and over the next 5 years. The Company's priority was always first coal from Mongolia by 2015 and this commitment has been achieved.
The Board and management will be working to ramp up production in order to deliver value to our shareholders. We will be keeping shareholders fully informed of progress at our Mongolian BNU Mine.
Viking: Results from Drilling at Berkh Uul Coal Project, Mongolia
December 18 -- Viking Mines Limited (ASX: VKA, the "Company" or "Viking") advises that it has received results from its recently completed drilling program at the Company's 100% owned Berkh Uul coal project (Figure 1) in northern Mongolia.
The drilling program, designed to infill and extend the existing drill coverage, commenced in the northeast of the licence area where there is pre-existing drilling within the confines of the current 38Mt resource. The drilling progressed to the south, targeting extensions: to the deposit to add to the current resource. A total of 1,064.5m drilled were drilled in 18 holes (Table1, Figure 2).
Results are presented in Table 2. Overall results typically show:
· ash content < 14%
· total moisture <15%
· sulphur <0.7%, and
· CV's in the range 6,000-7,000 kcal/kg on an air dried basis.
These positive results indicate that the quality of the coal is comparable or better compared to the historical drilling data, notwithstanding differences in the analytical methods and techniques performed.
Of particular interest are holes BU-14-14 and 15, drilled 500m south of the limit of previous drilling, which intersected 7m and 9m true thickness respectively of coal at a depth of less than 80m. These are the thickest intersections of coal recorded thus far in drilling on the project.
Viking Executive Chairman Jack Gardner commented ''This first drilling program at the Berkh Uul project by Viking, achieved prior to the onset of the winter field season recess, has confirmed both the thickness and quality of the coal seams as indicated in historic drilling, and has extended the deposit 1.5km to the south of previous drilling. Coal was intersected at shallow depth of less than 80 metres in 17 of the 18 holes drilled, so further work is clearly justified to advance the project towards development. We expect to receive the consultant geologists report on this drilling program in January 2015, at which time we will consider next steps including further drilling, resource updates and economic studies."
Share and Options Issue Following AGM Approval – Viking Mines, December 19
MNHD closed -67.5% Friday
Mongolia Holdings Amends Hertz Equipment Rental Franchise Commencement Date to December 31
December 18 -- On December 16, 2014, Mongolia Equipment Rental Corporation, a Delaware corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Mongolia Holdings, Inc. (OTC:MNHD), a Delaware corporation, entered into an amendment (the "Amendment") to the International Franchise Agreement, dated March 21, 2013 (the "Franchise Agreement"), with Hertz Equipment Rental Corporation.
The Amendment changes the Commencement Date, as such term is defined under the Franchise Agreement, from July 1, 2013 to December 31, 2014. The foregoing description of the Amendment does not purport to be complete and is qualified in its entirety by reference to the full text of the Amendment, a copy of which is filed as Exhibit 10.1 to this Current Report on Form 8-K and incorporated herein by reference.
Mongolia Parliament Retakes Consideration of Centerra's Gatsuurt as Strategic Deposit
December 17 (UB Post) A proposal to include Gatsuurt gold mine in the list of strategic mining deposits was discussed in the December 16 Parliamentary Standing Committee on Economy meeting, where the majority of members voted to have its draft bill discussed by Parliament.
Gatsuurt gold mine is owned by the Canadian mining company Centerra Gold Inc, which allegedly submitted the proposal to include the mine in the list, according to Minister of Mining R.Jigjid. However, the amount of state ownership in mine remains unsettled. The mine is estimated to have 50,000 tons of gold.
During the discussion, Member of Parliament L.Enkh-Amgalan noted, "The draft bill had been prepared incompetently. The amount of state ownership and involvement is not clarified. In addition, can mines be included in the list of strategic mining deposits upon the request of its owner? What is state policy on this issue? Furthermore, it could be suspected that the owner of the Gatsuurt mine is trying to find a means to use the mine by including it in the list, since the mine was rendered unusable because of its conflict with the Long Named Law. Please provide clarification on these issues."
In response, the Minister of Mining commented, "The mine was rendered unusable under the Long Named Law. However, individual miners have been exploiting gold at the mine, and as a result, the environment has been severely damaged. From this, stemmed the necessity to restore the environmental damages, which could best be done through allowing the owner of the mine to use the mine and carry out environmental restoration afterwards. On the other hand, utilizing the mine is beneficial in this time of economic crisis."
Opposing the proposal, a Parliament member remarked, "There can hardly be an investor so foolish as to plead for inclusion of a mine in the list of strategic deposits just to use its remaining 50 [sic] tons of gold. Therefore, the owner might have made the proposal because of some external pressure. Including this mine on the list might ultimately result in pushing away investors instead of attracting them."
Centerra Gold Extends Existing US$150 Million Revolving Credit Facility With EBRD
TORONTO, ON--(Marketwired - December 19, 2014) - Centerra Gold Inc. (TSX: CG) announced today it has extended its existing US$150 million revolving credit facility (the "Facility") with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development ("EBRD") until February 17, 2016, on the same terms as the existing facility, LIBOR plus 2.9%.
Ian Atkinson, President and CEO of Centerra, commented, "We are very pleased to extend this facility with EBRD and to continue our partnership with them. While Centerra has a strong balance sheet and we generate significant operating cash flow, we feel it is important to have the added financial flexibility that a corporate revolving credit facility gives us."
Riccardo Puliti, Managing Director of Energy and Natural Resources at EBRD, remarked, "We are pleased to continue working with Centerra and support its investments in EBRD countries of operations, including the Kyrgyz Republic. For close to 20 years EBRD has invested and supported the sustainable and transparent development of the mining sector in the Kyrgyz Republic by supporting EITI implementation and promoting private sector participation in the sector. EBRD recognizes Centerra's commitment to high environmental and safety standards, as well as to sustainable development in the local communities near the mine. We support the efforts that Centerra and the Government are making to co-operatively restructure the Kumtor Project in a manner that is fair to all shareholders, which will give a positive signal to investors and encourage further investments in the Kyrgyz Republic."
MEC closed -4.65% to HK$0.41 Friday, -40.75% MoM
Mongolia Energy Corp. Interim Report 2014
December 16, Mongolia Energy Corp. (HKEx:276) ---
Our principal project is the Khushuut Coking Coal Project in Western Mongolia.
During the Financial Period, we remained focused on optimizing our coal production process and enhancing coal quality to make preparation for our coal production by the end of this year. The installation of main operative part of the washing plant in Xinjiang was completed during this period and is under test runs.
We have gained the continuing financial support from our convertible noteholders by entering into three subscription agreements with them in September. By eliminating the short term financial pressure, we could concentrate our resources in the development of our Khushuut Coking Coal Project.
MSE Weekly Report, December 15-19: Top 20 -2.1% to 14,703.44, Turnover ₮242.3 Million, T-Bills ₮14.76 Billion
FMG Mongolia Fund: -4.44% in November, -16.3% in 2014
Standing Committee Accepts Resignations of FRC Chair & Commissioners
Ulaanbaatar, December 19 (GoGo Mongolia) D.Bayarsaikhan, Head of the Financial Regulatory Commission (FRC) has submitted resignation request to the Economic Standing Committee of State Great Khural. Other members of FRC also submitted requests for their resignation including G.Kherlen, B.Daajamba, B.Lkhagvasuren and D.Batbayar.
Economic Standing committee has approved their requests and discussed the nominees for the posts. As the law regulations for the FRC, Head for the agency is appointed by the Speaker of Parliament. In view of the regulations Z.Narantuya was nominated for the post. Majority of the Economic Standing Committee approved and the candidate name is to be submitted for Great Khural Session for discussion.
BoM MNT Rates: Friday, December 19 Close
December MNT vs USD, CNY Chart:
Mongolian Growth May Further Soften in 2015, World Bank Says
By Michael Kohn
December 19 (Bloomberg) -- Mongolia's economic growth may further soften next year due to high inflation, a declining currency, weak FDI and external factors such as low commodity prices and a
slowing economy in China, according to a report released today by the World Bank.
* Further monetary policy tightening is needed and large liquidity support from Mongolia's central bank can't be sustained amid high inflation and external vulnerabilities
* International reserves in 2015 may continue to fall under the current trend of weak foreign investment and large current account deficit
* Inflation is expected remain in double digits in 2015, above the 7 percent target of the central bank
* Off-budget spending including spending by the Development Bank of Mongolia must included in the budget, the World Bank recommends
* Mongolia must begin preparations now to refinance or repay external debt of $1.08b in 2017 and 2018, World Bank recommends
World Bank Urges Mongolia to Boost Resilience of Slowing Economy – World Bank, December 18
Mongolia Economic Update - December, 2014 – World Bank, December 18
IMF Urges Quick Discussion of Debt Management Bill
December 17 (news.mn) Speaker of Mongolian Parliament Z.Enkhbold met with the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) resident representative for Mongolia, Koshy Mathai, at the Government House today, December 17th.
At the meeting, an IMF report on the economic situation in Mongolia was presented to the Speaker and opinions on the state budget were exchanged.
IMF resident representative Mathai said that Mongolian parliament needs to take quick action for discussion of a draft bill on debt management in the near future.
Speaker Receives IMF Reps – Montsame, December 17
BoM FX auction: US$16m, CNY33.5m bids declined, accepts $80m USD swap offers
December 18 (Bank of Mongolia) On the Foreign Exchange Auction held on December 18th, 2014 the BOM has received bid offer 16.0 million USD and 33.5 million CNY from local commercial banks. The BOM has not accepted any offer.
On December 18th, 2014, The BOM has received USD SWAP agreement ask offer of 80.0 million USD from local commercial banks and accepted the offer.
BoM FX auction: USD14m, CNY30m sold, accepts $120m USD swap offers
December 16 (Bank of Mongolia) On the Foreign Exchange Auction held on December 16th, 2014 the BOM has received bid offer of 55.2 million USD at average 1895.53 MNT and 94.3 million CNY at average 306.25 MNT from local commercial banks. The BOM has sold 14.0 million USD and 30 million CNY.
On December 16th, 2014, The BOM has received USD SWAP agreement ask offer of 120.0 million USD and accepted all offers.
BoM issues ₮42.6 billion 1-week bills, total outstanding +9.2% to ₮118.7 billion
December 19 (Bank of Mongolia) BoM issues 1 week bills worth MNT 42.6 billion at a weighted interest rate of 12.0 percent per annum /For previous auctions click here/
8% Mortgage Program Update: ₮547.4 Billion Refinanced, ₮1.55 Trillion Newly Issued
December 18 (Cover Mongolia) As of December 17, ₮547.4 billion (₮524.3 billion as of November 2) existing mortgages of 18,684 citizens (18,617 as of November 2) were refinanced at 8% out of ₮818.9 billion (₮817.7 billion as of November 2) worth requests.
Also, ₮1,549.7 billion (₮1,439.9 billion as of November 2) new mortgages of 27,420 citizens (25,312 citizens as of November 2) were issued at new rates out of ₮1.5 trillion (₮1.4 trillion as of November 2) worth requests.
Link to release (in Mongolian)
Per m2 Price Cap Increased for 8% Mortgages
December 17 (GoGo Mongolia) Changes have been made to the rules for 8% housing loan. The price threshold has been raised due to the increase 20-30% increase in the housing price.
According to the changes, if one is applying for the 8% housing loan the price of the new housing should not exceed MNT 2.2 million per sq.m, and for old apartments the threshold price should nor exceed MNT 1.9 million per sq.m.
Rule changes to be in effect next Monday at commercial banks.
GoM 5-Year ₮10 Billion Bold Auction Receives No Bids
December 17 (Bank of Mongolia) Auction for 5 years maturity Government Bond was announced at face value of 10 billion MNT and each unit was worth 1 million MNT. Government Bond was not sold due to absence of both competitive and non-competitive bids.
GoM Treasury Auction: ₮75 Billion 28-Week Bills Sold at Discount, Average 16.436%
December 17 (Bank of Mongolia) Auction for 28 weeks maturity Government Treasury bill was announced at face value of 90.0 billion MNT. Face value of 75.0 billion MNT /out of 75.0 billion MNT bid/ Government Treasury bill was sold at discounted price and with weighted average yield of 16.436%.
Please find expanded information from Table.
Announced amount /by MNT/
Received bid amount /by MNT
Sold amount /by MNT/
Weighted average yield
Maximum yield of fulfilled bids
Minimum yield of fulfilled bids
Consolidated Balance Sheet of Banks
December 17 (Bank of Mongolia) --
/in million of togrogs/
Central bank bills
In domestic currency
In foreign currency
In domestic currency
In foreign currency
In domestic currency
In foreign currency
Profit/loss of current year
Excl. BANKS IN LIQUIDATIONIDATION /Anod, Zoos, Savings/
BoM Monthly Statistical Bulletin, November 2014
December 17 (Bank of Mongolia) --
Parliament Approves 2014 Budget Amendments, to Discuss ₮317.8 Billion Bond Issuance
Ulaanbaatar, December 19 (MONTSAME) Parliament passed on December 18 the 2014 budget clarification draft law and related to it draft amendments to the laws on budgets of Human Development Fund and Social Insurance Fund, with 83.3 percent approval vote.
It was a follow up of the budget Standing committee's meeting earlier that day at which these bills had undergone third readings. The committee members decided to transfer them to parliament for a third and fourth readings. During the third reading, parliament had no questions about the drafts, so it ran their fourth readings and approved them with 83.3 percent of votes.
After this, parliament held a first reading of the draft of parliament resolution on approving Government Bonds issuance. Since there were no questions, a procedural vote was supported of B.Bolor MP, the draft initiator, to approve the draft on its first reading. According to B.Bolor, the Government needs to issue bonds of MNT 317,811.0 million due to the cash repayment of the loan taken for the operations of strategic deposits and for a repayment to be allocated by the Government to the Human Development Fund.
"Glass Account" Budget Transparency Law Coming into Force in 2015
Ulaanbaatar, December 18 (MONTSAME) A fortnight left until this law preparation to complete. It will come into force in January 1 of 2015, said the head of Cabinet Secretariat S.Bayartsogt Thursday during a discussion at the State house.
At an anticipation of the upcoming enforcement, the discussion was held to provide guidance for the law implementing organizations, their leaders and finance officials.
Some five thousand budget managers of state ministries, agencies, kindergartens and schools of cities and localities, also 360 entities, including those with involvements of the State and local administrations, state-run industries along with others who conduct projects activities on the State Budget investing of more than MNT 10 million, will be obliged to disclose to the public in timely manner the list of information reflected in the law, said S.Bayartsogt. He also reminded that the organizations to implement this law will take a responsibility to openly inform the budget plans, its performance, implementation and reporting, and to deliver such information through website and bulletin boards. According to Ts.Jadamba, the head of Information Technology, Post and Communications Department, the "Glass account" website has been designed to be simple and comprehensible for all--the state servants, accountants, related officials, and ordinary people. The general website will become operational this December 25.
Parliament to discuss ₮320 billion bond issuance to repay foreign debt
December 19 (news.mn) Parliament held its second discussion on a draft law of the 2014 budget in Thursday's plenary session meeting.
During the plenary session meeting, Parliament revised a resolution approving the issuance of a revenue bond, with 73.2 percent of votes in approval, and agreed to discuss the resolution.
Thirty out of 41 MPs who attended the vote approved discussion of the resolution.
MP and Finance Minister J.Erdenebat explained issuing the bond in order to pay foreign debt, "The issuance of a 320 billion MNT bond will not affect the debt ceiling."
Fitch Affirms Mongolia's XacBank at 'B', Outlook Negative
Fitch Ratings-Hong Kong-16 December 2014: Fitch Ratings has affirmed the Long-Term Issuer Default Rating (IDR) of Mongolia-based XacBank LLC at 'B'. The Outlook remains Negative. The Viability Rating (VR) was affirmed at 'b' and the Support Rating Floor (SRF) affirmed at 'B-'.
A full list of rating actions is at the end of this rating action commentary.
KEY RATING DRIVERS - IDRS, VRS AND SENIOR DEBT
The VR-driven IDR of the bank captures the weakening operating environment in Mongolia. This contributed to a spike in impaired loans in 2014 following the bank's shift towards SME lending, which now account for more than half of its loans, from microfinance operations. Management has been tightening its lending policies and Fitch believes that measures, such as limiting loan growth, reducing foreign currency lending and higher provisioning, could help the bank to maintain the financial characteristics associated with the current rating level.
Adherence to its significantly lower growth target, possibly at the expense of market share, should enable the bank to maintain adequate capitalisation; XacBank's Fitch core capital ratio stood at 10.7% at 1H14. The ratings also capture the bank's satisfactory deposit franchise and stable access to foreign-currency funding from multinational and bilateral institutions. Diversified ownership and involvement of international shareholders in the bank's management underpin a reasonable degree of corporate governance.
XacBank's Outlook remains Negative as Fitch considers it possible that XacBank's loan quality will continue to worsen as the weakening local currency lowers the capacity of borrowers to repay their foreign-currency loans.
RATING SENSITIVITIES - IDRS, VRS AND SENIOR DEBT
Fitch would downgrade XacBank's ratings if the bank were to increase its risk appetite, if its tightened risk management was insufficient to contain further material loan deterioration or if the bank was not able to quickly react to tougher operating conditions.
Positive rating actions could derive from improving operating conditions, including a favourable resolution to a dispute between Rio Tinto and the government over the Oyu Tolgoi copper mining project and successful gradual removal of government stimulus measures. Less reliance on external parties to fund growth would be another consideration.
KEY RATING DRIVERS AND RATING SENSITVITIES - SUPPORT RATING AND SUPPORT RATING FLOOR
The Support Rating (SR) and SRF of the bank reflect Fitch's view that sovereign support, although possible, cannot be relied upon. Although Fitch believes the government is willing to support systemically important banks, its ability to do so remains limited.
The SR and SRF are sensitive to changes in the authorities' ability and willingness to provide support. An upgrade of Mongolia's sovereign rating (B+/Negative) could result in a higher SRF while a downgrade may not necessarily trigger a change as the existing SR and SRF already indicate poor prospects for timely support.
The rating actions are as follows:
Long-Term Foreign Currency IDR affirmed at 'B'; Outlook Negative
Short-Term Foreign Currency IDR affirmed at 'B'
Long-Term Local Currency IDR affirmed at 'B'; Outlook Negative
Viability Rating affirmed at 'b'
Support Rating affirmed at '5'
Support Rating Floor affirmed at 'B-'
In accordance with Fitch's policies the issuer appealed and provided additional information to Fitch that resulted in a rating action that is different than the original rating committee outcome.
IMM&MR: AMBITIOUS YOUNG PM EMBARKS ON CURING AND SORTING OUT MONGOLIA
December 21 (Independent Mongolian Metals & Mining Research) Mongolian Government has started on December 19, 2014 that Prime Minister Ch. Saikhanbileg ( reported by Bloomberg to be 45 years old, with LLM from George Washington University and passion for powerlifting and Denver Broncos- IMM&MR) has stated to Parliament (among other things, selected summary translation and names of sections by IMM&MR)
TO BE OR NOT TO BE
· "it will not overstatement to remind famous quote " to be or not to be""
· "First of all, let's postpone or various politics, let's forget temporarily next year's election, let's stop competition on who's more patriot, let's quit doing populism on who loves people more. Let's discuss issues with common sense, without any emotions"
· "it would be wrong direction to blame this or that Government"
· " to get to the point, we are facing , exactly as in 2008-2009 , balance of payment crisis, which, if extended, could become financial and, further, economic crisis"
· " we have established ourselves several years ago foundations of crisis"
· " we saw that no matter how many bonds and loans we get and expand the economy, if we cut other hand and don't make correct policy and plan properly benefits , economy will not grow as we want it"
· " as of November 2014, GDP by current prices is MNT 16.5 trillion(~US$8.9 billion)
· "even though mining and agriculture has grown ~16% and economic growth is to reach ~7%, trade and construction sector is to decline by 5-10%"
· " fiscal expansion, increasing leverage, injections by Bank of Mongolia and DBM, all these when FX inflows have not increased, increased pressure on balance of payments,"
· "as of October 2014, BOP deficit has reached US$880 million and exchange rate has risen to 1900"
· "inflation has decreased to 11.5% as of November due to shrinking economy"
· " national debt is likely to reach MNT11.5 trillion (~US$6.2 billion) by present value or 53% of GDP, including 4 trillion from foreign soft loans and 2.5 trillion domestic bonds and 2.7 trillion foreign bonds"
· "credit expanded 54% in 2013 and likely to expand under 20% in 2014, money supply is likely to expand 9% in 2014 vs. ~30% in 2013"
· "we saw that we don't have correct policy, investment, skilled labour and equipment, no matter how many resources we have, we will continue to just sit on them"
· " if we keep making policymaking that makes others flee from us, investment that has collapsed 7.5 times within only 3 years from US$4.6 billion to US$0.6 billion clearly tells us that no one will pay attention and we will become Robinsons lost on isolated island"
· " deterioration of value and principles is more dangerous than decline of quantitative indicators"
· "2.5 million square meters of forestry is being illegally harvested per year"
· "while news that business representatives who come to Mongolia to invest are banned from leaving without explanations are becoming business card of Mongolia, we watch silently, and observe, as if saying " don't invest in our country"
· "Today when exchange rate is declining and even one ton of gold is important for nation, those who have never been even once at the site, make one shout at Parliament Standing Committee and get mining extraction stuck by one whole year."
· " yet when we have cut tax on gold only by 2.5% , gold sales to Bank of Mongolia increased almost 3 times",
· " if we apply little bit of heart, effort and understanding we can solve many problems"
· " We must acknowledge our shortcomings and stop the unrealistic expectations"
· "Members of Parliament, now is the time to make painful but absolutely required decisions. If situation continues as is, after certain time, I will not refuse emergence of requirement to declare default or bankruptcy as a country"
· "while it is not meant to scare each other, the point is that, if fiscal and monetary policy will continue as is, there will be serious economic crisis"
· "There is recognizable melody being heard from not far away, northern neighbour, where although for different reasons, investors became unable to come, there is exchange rate and foreign exchange deficit and sharp decline in main export product petroleum price. "
· "It is big signal to us that no matter how big economy, market depending commodities prices can decline very quickly"
· "Is this what is waiting for us? As with family of seriously ill patient, no matter how difficult, we must say truth and unite actions"
· "We have one good news and one bad news"
· "We have not reached the bottom of decline. This means if measures are not taken, current conditions will deteriorate even further"
· " Diagnosis of our disease is clear, recovery possible, control is in our hands"
· "If we don't do uneasy decisions now, we never will. Let's overcome together the crisis"
· "Medical pill is sour, but heals. This Prime Minister, this Government has no choice but keep absolutely required actions"
· " Budget will be consolidated, DBM expenditures will be consolidated in budget and we have truly one budget"
· "This will mean that some of requirements for fiscal responsibility will not be fulfilled. However, according to advice of IMF and World Bank, bill on transfer period on fulfilling law requirements on retroactive basis for near 2-3 years will be submitted"
· " There has been practice of making budget approvals , based on wishes, and amending by year end, based on reality"
· "as tradition, investment funding shortfall of MNT320 billion (~US$173 million) has been postponed to next year"
· " let's all refuse this false practice"
· " let's make next year a year of finishing unfinished facilities and bear for just one year no new construction of new facilities"
· "Let's decide this year buildings we can finish. Let's sell, auction, transfer by management buildings that cannot be finished, ones that have no meaning even if finished and ones that private sector can take on and run on its own"
STOP FALSE BUDGET PLANS
· "If we don't cut budget revenues expectations by MNT1 trillion (~US$540 million), we will not get rid of main disease"
· " in reality revenues and expenditures increase on average 3-6% per year, yet we project revenues and expenditures increase by 16-18% per year"
WE MADE MONGOLIAN SOCIETY WELFARE SOCIETY
· "Children's MNT20,000 (~US$10.81) monthly subsidy will be issued to families who need it, those with family income below ~one million MNT(~US$540) and temporarily suspended for others"
· " student subsidies of MNT70,000(~US$38) per monthly will be issued only to academically excelling students"
· "one time financial aid to all retiring state service human resources will be capped at 12 months max from 12-36 months depending on sector"
· " we have more herders with more thousand herds than number of billionaires in the world"
· " we have 60 million herds yet neither herders willing to export meat nor export meat itself"
· "no tax whatsoever on herders will be changed with at least local authority levying tax per herd head and use proceeds themselves "
· " stop right away issuance every year of new uniforms for state inspectors, socials security, tax inspectors, state registrars, welfare employees"
PLETHORA OF INSTITUTE
· " Plethora of labour-related organizations funded by budget such as Labour Research Institute, etc and etc, will be consolidated in National Labour Center"
· " Plethora of science institutes funded by budget such as Textiles Institute , etc and etc will be transferred away from budget to Mongolian University of Technology and Science"
OFFICES INTO HOSPITALS
· "Building of former Ministry of Road and Transportation under Peace Bridge will be converted into new Children Hospital"
· "It will be researched if new Office to the north of State Palace could be converted into new Hospital"
· " labour conditions for doctors and teachers will be liberalized with contracts with state ,so they can receive higher salaries based on work results"
· " state shall outsource from private sector services such as drivers, cleaners, electricians and plumbers instead of running all these services for every budget organization"
· " state will maintain kindergarten food monies, however, parents should add, to improve food quality"
· "Subsidies to Famous Mothers will stop children reach over 18 years"
· "Social transfers will be targeted from now on"
10 THOUSAND STATE OFFICIALS
· "Direction to downsize 15% of all state officials except teachers and doctors have been issued with estimate of 10 thousand employees"
· "However, it was considered to be best decision , instead of increasing unemployed by 10 thousand individuals, to keep the jobs but with salaries one year freeze, this is beneficial to private sector as well"
PRICE STABILIZATION PROGRAMS
· "Government together with Bank of Mongolia have decided to fully exit in near term biggest part of price stabilization program , program on fuel"
· "Budget will be made healthy"
· "Monetary policy will be made healthy"
· "Investment environment will be made healthy"
· "Balance of payments will be made healthy"
· "All of these in sum will make economy healthy"
· "I will shortly introduce to Parliament plan to get out of economic difficulties and list of works to implement"
· "Either we take unpopular measures, sort out economy , budget and money"
· "Or we can keeping lying to each other, give up to destructive populism, pawn and lose everything"
· "Clearly , tomorrow economy will develop and expand"
· "Today we cut costs and save, build correct development road and install correct principles"
· "I am confident in supercoalition , we can cure budget and economy and develop our country"
· "I believe in long term vision of Mongolian statesmen and wisdom of Mongolian people"
· "Crisis is danger yet opportunity too"
Mongolian Government: http://zasag.mn/news/view/8093
Reductions and Cutbacks - New Slogan for Government? – GoGo Mongolia, December 21
Oyu Tolgoi Board Member Named Mongolia's Deputy Mining Minister
By Michael Kohn
December 18 (Bloomberg) -- Temuulen Ganzorig, an Oyu Tolgoi LLC board member, has been appointed Mongolia's deputy minister of mining, according to the government's website.
* Oyu Tolgoi spokesman Brian White said the company has no comment when asked about Temuulen's status on the board.
* NOTE: Temuulen replaces former deputy Erdenebulgan Oyun.
Deputy Ministers of New Coalition Government Appointed
December 18 (infomongolia.com) The 18 Ministers of the new Coalition Government excluding Prime Minister were accredited by the State Great Khural (Parliament) on December 09, 2014.
So, the complete Cabinet Members have resolved to downsize the number of total existing Agencies by 15% that aims to save Government expenditure and eliminate duplicated functions and roles at its Cabinet meeting held on December 15, 2014.
On December 17, 2014, the Cabinet Members called its irregular meeting to appoint 17 Deputy Ministers of incumbent 15 Ministries, of which Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, and the Ministry of Health and Sports have two Deputies each.
Deputy Ministers of Coalition Government (December 17, 2014 - 2016):
1. Mr. Magvansuren KHURELSUKH, Deputy Minister for Environment, Green Development and Tourism of Mongolia (used to serve as Director of Environment Protection Fund under Ministry of Environment and Green Development since 2014, promoted by Civil Will Green Party)
2. Mrs. Navaan-Yunden OYUNDARI, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Mongolia (Trade Representative of Mongolia to the PR of China in 2008-2012, promoted by Mongolian People's Party, MPP)
3. Mr. Surenjav PUREV, Deputy Minister for Finance of Mongolia (Deputy Minister of Finance since 2012, promoted by Democratic Party, DP)
4. Mr. Tsogoo UUGANGEREL, Deputy Minister for Justice of Mongolia (Deputy Minister of Justice since 2012, promoted by 'Justice' Coalition merged from MPRP and MNDP)
5. Mr. Khavdislam BADELKHAN, Deputy Minister for Industry of Mongolia (Advisor to MPP Group at the Parliament since 2012, promoted by MPP)
6. Mr. Avirmed BATTUR, Deputy Minister for Defense of Mongolia (Deputy Minister of Defense since 2012, promoted by DP)
7. Mrs. Gochoosuren BAIGALMAA, Deputy Minister for Construction and Urban Development of Mongolia (Deputy Minister of Construction and Urban Development since 2012, promoted by DP)
8. Mr. Yadmaa TUMURBAATAR and Mr. Buya TULGA, Deputy Ministers for Education, Culture and Science of Mongolia (Ya.Tumurbaatar, Director of 'Strategy' Academy promoted by MPP and B.Tulga, Deputy Minister of Education, Culture and Science since 2012 by 'Justice' Coalition)
9. Mr. Khabshai YERJAN, Deputy Minister for Roads and Transportation of Mongolia (Deputy Minister of Roads and Transportation since 2012, promoted by DP)
10. Mr. Ganzorig TEMUULEN, Deputy Minister for Mining of Mongolia (Board Member of Oyu Tolgoi LLC since 2013, promoted by MPP)
11. Mr. Jamiyandorj BATKHUYAG, Deputy Minister for Labor of Mongolia (Deputy Minister of Labor since 2012, promoted by 'Justice' Coalition)
12. Mr. Begzjav MUNKHBAATAR, Deputy Minister for Population Development and Social Protection of Mongolia (Deputy Mayor in 2008-2012 and Advisor to Secretary General of MPP in 2012-2013, promoted by MPP)
13. Mr. Batjargal BATZORIG, Deputy Minister for Food and Agriculture of Mongolia (Governor of Bayanzurkh District in 2008-2012, promoted by MPP)
14. Mr. Ulziikhutag PUREVBAATAR, Deputy Minister for Energy of Mongolia (DP Chairman of Songinokhairkhan District since 2013, promoted by DP)
15. Mrs. Dashdorj ATARMAA and Mr. Tumurtogoo BOLDBAATAR, Deputy Ministers for Health and Sports of Mongolia (D.Atarmaa, Director of National Centre for Occupational Disease under Ministry of Labor in 2009-2013, promoted by MPP and T.Boldbaatar, Director of National Center of Auto Transportation under Ministry of Roads and Transportation since 2012, promoted by DP)
Moreover, four State Secretaries have been appointed and other State Secretaries will be announced following a selection process, until then Chairpersons of State Administrations of affiliated Ministries will be acting temporarily.
State Secretaries at the following Ministries:
1. Mr. Bat-Amgalan BOLDBAATAR, State Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
2. Mr. Shagdarsuren BULGA-ERDENE, State Secretary at the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science,
3. Mr. Ravjikh ERDENEBUREN, State Secretary at the Ministry of Construction and Urban Development,
4. Mr. Davaadorj DELGERTSOGT, State Secretary at the Ministry of Energy.
Deputy Minister nominations approved – news.mn, December 18
Former Vice Minister for Economy O. Chuluunbat appointed economic advisor to PM
Ulaanbaatar, December 16 (MONTSAME) A banker and a former president of the Bank of Mongolia (BoM) Mr O.Chuluunbat was appointed the advisor to the Prime Minister on December 16.
Mr Chuluunbat has graduated the Moscow State Institute of International Relations majoring in economics, is specialized in foreign exchange and finance, speaks Russian and English. He has obtained a doctor's degree in Economics at the Russian Academy of Sciences with a dissertation themed "Characteristics of financial and monetary system during transition". He worked as a senior economist and referent in a Foreign Accounting Department of the State Bank in 1981-1987, a senior advisor and dealer at the International Economic Cooperation Bank in Moscow in 1987-1990, an advisor to the president of the BoM 1990-1991, an advisor to a private entity in 1991-1992, first deputy director of KHOTSH bank in 1992-1993, first vice president of the BoM in 1993-1996, a senior trader at Sales Capital market center in New York in 1996-2000, a president of the BoM in 2000-2006, a consultant in a private entity in 2006-2008, a member of parliament, head of the Standing committee on Budget and a member of the Standing committee on Security and Foreign Policy in 2008-2012, and as vice minister of Economic Development in 2012-2014.
PM Appoints Ambassador to Singapore B. Delgermaa as Senior Advisor
Ulaanbaatar, December 16 (MONTSAME) One of the famous women politicians of Mongolia and doctor of historical science Delgermaa Banzragch has been appointed chief advisor to the Prime Minister.
Having long-year experiences in laws and politics, Delgermaa defended a PhD degree on historical science in the Siberian branch of Russia's Academy of Sciences in 2005 with a dissertation "The history of Mongolian democracy of 20th century". She speaks English and Russian.
B.Delgermaa worked as a prosecutor at the State Prosecutor Department in 1982-1986; a teacher of School of Law at Mongolian State University (MSU) in 1986-1989; a scientific worker at Institute of Law at the Academy of Sciences in 1989-1990; an advisor to State Conference in 1990-1992; a director of Academy of Political Education in 1993-1996; a member of parliament in 1996-2000; an advisor to PM on social policy in 2004-2006; a director of "Liberty" institute; and the Ambassador of Mongolia to Singapore since 2012.
New Cabinet to Downsize Staff by 15% to Cut Costs, Improve Efficiency
December 16 (infomongolia.com) On December 15, 2014, the regular Cabinet meeting was held and the first issue resolved was to reduce the total number of Government Agencies by 15 percent.
The State Great Khural (Parliament) of Mongolia ratified a Decree No.70 on November 14, 2014 that obliged to perform economical savings in the State Budget by abridging the number of public administrative organs and its employees.
Accordingly, the Cabinet approved the renewed structure and its organizational issues to adhere that aim to eliminate doubled administrative functions, to downsize management steps and to transfer some Agencies to affiliated professional associations and private sectors.
Currently, the Government of Mongolia operates with 15 Ministries, 26 Agencies and Cabinet Secretariat of Government.
Moreover, the new Government decision reflects not to dismiss or change qualified personnel and to adhere the following obligations:
- To ensure the continuity of government operations,
- An Agency will not employ a Deputy Chairperson, if the Agency comprises fewer than 100 employees. Moreover, to remove duplicated divisions by the means of functions,
- If an Agency consists of over 100 employees, only one Vice or Deputy Chairperson is allowed,
- An employee from a merged or liquidated Agency will be promoted for a designated post only,
- An Agency will be comprised of about 10 Units, where Departments and Divisions will no longer exist,
- An Agency Chairperson will not employ an Advisor, besides, allowed to ride only a small capacity vehicle for official usage, but a Deputy Chairperson and a Unit Director are not allowed to ride a vehicle;
Number of Staffers at Ministries and Agencies to Be Reduced – Montsame, December 16
15 percent limit set for cutting ministry and government agency jobs – news.mn, December 16
Cost-Efficiency Principles to Be Implemented at All Levels of Government
Ulaanbaatar, December 17 (MONTSAME) Head of the Cabinet Secretariat for Government S.Bayartsogt said it Wednesday at an online meeting with localities' authorities.
The government is working out a policy and a programme on overcoming current economic difficulties and on stabilizing the national economy. Within the regime of economization, measures will be taken in several phases for making a composition and structure of state organizations more proper, and an elimination of duties' duplication at Ministries and agencies as well a reduction in managerial stages has already started, he said.
Policy reforms will be done to remove state organizations' state service people from the category of "state" and to carry out the people-targeted state services on principle of state-business partnership, he added.
The cabinet has been told to take several measures after discussing an audit report from the Audit Office at a meeting of the Standing committee on budget over the expenditure of money of Local development and Soums' development funds. Obligations were given to the localities' authorities to fulfill some concrete works such as imposing responsibilities upon those servants guilty of the money expenditure, registering in a "black list" those companies that poorly performed works by bids, and increasing the public participation and monitoring in all levels of budgetary works.
The aimags and soums' authorities were ordered to give information about an approval of the law on "glass" account, which will come into force from January 1 of 2015, and to hold relevant training.
Due to reforms in the governmental structure and organization, the cabinet's action plan will be altered, but many works, planned or already launched by the previous government in construction, industry and state service spheres, will be continued, Bayartsogt said.
Cabinet Promotes B. Tseepil to Head of Media, Public Relations
Ulaanbaatar, December 17 (MONTSAME) In accordance with the cabinet decision made Monday, Ms B.Tseepil was appointed the head of the media and public relations service of the government.
B.Tseepil used to serve as chief official of the government's media service, she is preceded by Ts.Monkhtor who has become the advisor to the Premier on media affairs.
Ulaanbaatar Railway stake transferred to State Property Committee
December 19 (news.mn) Mongolian-Russian Ulaanbaatar Railway JSC's stock was officially sent to the State Property Committee on Thursday, according to Government Resolution No. 357, dating back to 2011.
During the transaction, Head of Ulaanbaatar Railway JSC L.Purevbaatar gave a brief presentation on the current development of Ulaanbaatar Railway, and legislative acts concerning its operations.
Mongolian-Russian Ulaanbaatar Railway JSC extended freight turnover volume of up to 20 million tons in 2014. The JSC hopes to 30 million tons in volume in 2015.
L.Purevbaatar then spoke about plans for structural reform and building an effective, skillful team.
Mongolia's Shares of UB-Railway Officially Handed to SPC – Montsame, December 19
MPP weighing legal actions over allegations it sold vice-ministerial seats
December 19 (news.mn) The newly formed government announced the appointments of 17 deputy ministers in Wednesday's cabinet meeting. Some local media reported that the MPP's nominees donated at least 100 million MNT to the party.
Secretary General of the MPP J.Munkhbat held a press conference on Thursday, making a statement that the party would sue for defamation. MPP Secretary General J.Munkhbat commented that the board of the MPP selected nominees for deputy minister positions through a fair and democratic process. He stated that the MPP does not sell positions. The MPP will approach legal organizations to sue the media outlets that harmed the reputation of the party.
During the press conference, journalists commented the party members themselves claimed that that party nominated members who made significant donations. MPP Secretary General J.Munkhbat also stated that any of party members who were appointed deputy ministers had not committed illegal or unprofessional actions, and that the party placed more consideration on the experience and skills of its members during its time as an opposition party when it nominated them for deputy minister positions.
MPP nominations such as former Governor of Bayanzurkh District B.Batzorig, who has been investigated by the Anti-Corruption Authority, and retired member Kh.Badelkhan raised speculations about an unfair selection.
New Government House parking rules rescinded after public backlash
December 16 (news.mn) Speaker Z.Enkhbold's Monday decision to allow only vehicles belonging to parliamentarians park at the east side parking area at the Government House resulted in a public backlash.
The new parking rule allowed only parliamentarians to park at the east side and the other Government House staff and visitors to share west side parking.
On Monday, the "unworkable" parking rule spurred discontent among staff and visitors who found the east side parking area empty. Today the Speaker is rescinding the parking regulation, allowing staff, visitors and parliamentarians the same access to both parking areas, in response to the social media backlash.
Int'l Airport Development Progressing Successfully Says Transport Minister to Japanese Ambassador
Ulaanbaatar, December 19 (MONTSAME) One of the biggest construction of Mongolia and Japan--a project on erecting a new international airport in Khoshig Valley of Tov aimag--is being realized successfully.
It was said by the Minister of Road and Transportation N.Tomorkhuu on Friday at a meeting with Mr Takenori Shimizu, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to Mongolia. They said the two countries are making great efforts to expand their cooperation in auto road, railway and civil air transportation spheres.
Mr Tomorkhuu said Japan significantly contributed to the development of the Mongolian infrastructure and underlined that the bilateral ties and cooperation have been widening in the road and transportation.
The sides also expressed a mutual willingness to focus on solving problems that may face the cooperation in these fields, and said their countries will continue their efforts to strengthen the collaboration. They also exchanged views on vital projects and programmes to be implemented in Mongolia's economic and infrastructure sectors, and added they ready to start some concrete works.
IFC Offers Assistance in Energy Sector Development to New Minister
Ulaanbaatar, December 19 (MONTSAME) The Minister of Energy D.Zorigt received Friday the permanent representative of the International Financial Corporation (IFC) to Mongolia Tuyen D.Nguyen, at the latter's request.
The Minister introduced himself saying that has been in the office for six days and that he had worked as member of the Standing Committee on Economy for six years where he had gained much experience in energy matters.
In response, Mr D.Nguyen mentioned that the IFC is a member organization of the World Bank and mainly focuses on private sector and said the IFC seeks an opportunity to invest in Mongolia in the areas of Wind Energy Development and Public and Private Partnership (PPP).
The IFC is willing to discuss the roles it can play in the PPP in Mongolia, particularly in considering private entities' participation in electricity and heat production, he said. Their Corporation is interested in cooperating in the small projects that are of high importance for Mongolia, "given our rich practices, for instance, it is possible to collaborate in a privatization of the power transmission network", he went on. Mr Nguyen also said the IFC has sold 25 percent of Laos' power network on the Stock Exchange, "this can be practiced in Mongolia as well". "If the privatization of the energy-producing entities meets the interests of Mongolia, our corporation can invest in and support the commercialization of the stocks. I hope that the issues of the Fifth Thermal Plant will be settled and forwarded soon," he added.
He also expressed a readiness of the IFC to cooperate with Mongolia, although it does not have any direct involvement in these issues except for voicing when needed.
Present at the meeting were a head of the Department of Finance and Investments of the Ministry of Energy S.Bayarbat, a head of the Department of Strategy and Policy Planning P.Tovuudorj, and a senior officer of the Division of Foreign Cooperation G.Enkhtuvshin.
New Energy Minister Receives Ambassador of China
Ulaanbaatar, December 19 (MONTSAME) The Minister of Energy D.Zorigt Friday received Mr Wang Xiaolong, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the People's Republic of China (PRC) to Mongolia, by the latter's request.
Mongolia and China have the historical cooperation in the energy sector, the Chinese side contributed to a development of this sector since erecting first hydro power station in 1932 in Kharkhorin. "Our cooperation has been expanding, for example, electricity is being imported from China to a concentrate plant of the Oyu Tolgoi mine, the largest energy companies of China have performed assembling works of an annex of the third power plant and Amgalan thermal power station," he said. "Our countries, each facing a big demand for bringing of the energy cooperation into a newer level, established a cooperation memorandum on May 26 of this year between the Ministry of Energy and the Energy Authority at China's Committee for Development Reforms. In its frames, the sides have set up a consultative commission with participation of the Ministries and companies, its first meeting ran in October of 2014 in Beijing. It ensured agendas which have been discussed through a protocol," he went on.
Proposals from the Energy Ministry were reflected in a dialogue of the Speaker during his visit to China paid in October of 2014. The sides also considered as necessity to boost cooperation on specific issues, he said.
Present at the meeting were also S.Bayarbat, a department head of the Energy Ministry; G.Enkhtuvshin, senior expert of the external relations and cooperation section of the Ministry; and others.
Harsher Tobacco Control Bill Rejected by Parliament
December 19 (news.mn) Friday's plenary session meeting of Parliament reviewed an amendment proposal to the Law on Tobacco Control but the proposal was not approved, as over 60 percent of MPs rejected it.
MP O.Baasankhuu submitted the amendment proposal to Parliament. The amendment would change the prohibited use and sale of tobacco in places less than 500 meters from schools and kindergartens to less than 250 meters.
The Law on Tobacco Control caused public outcry due to its harsh restriction of tobacco use and sales. Smokers complained that the law was too broad, as by law there is no allowance for smoking areas to be permitted.
December 18 (MIBG) The title of this article is credited to the newly appointed Minister of Mongolia, Mr. Enkhsaikhan. He has compared the current state of Mongolia's economy to that of our northern neighbor, stating that "while the US led economic sanction is causing the Ruble to depreciate, our self imposed economic sanction is doing the same to the Tugrik". We are grateful that someone who understands and publicly admits the true cause of the Mongolian economic crisis has been appointed as the minister in charge of large projects in Mongolia.
These days, the streets of UB are full of shops, restaurants, and real estate developers who face a significant drop in demand. Citizens receive special discount offers to their cell phones daily, offering discounts on recently built luxury apartments while suggesting that those apartments are nearly sold out. After receiving the same text message daily for more than a month, the average person begins to understand what is really happening to the economy.
Fiscal policy crisis : Government to lay off 15% of the work force
The fiscal policy is in trouble, as expected. Mongolia's 2014 fiscal budget had a revenue of 6.88 trillion MNT, and expenses of 7.24 trillion MNT. The fiscal spending was supposed to be 35.6% of GDP. However, in 2014 it has become obvious that the budgeted revenue will fall 1.1 trillion short of the 6.88 trillion planned and much of the spending had been incurred on deferred basis. The Government of Mongolia will need 600 billion MNT until the end of the calendar year of 2014. To facilitate this the Government is planning to issue 340 billion MNT worth bonds. Given the current state of the local capital markets the chances of raising 340 billion MNT in a short time frame is questionable.
We believe that the politicians could be in talks with supranational finance organizations for a possible funding solution to keep the country's finances a float. Much like the Stand-By Arrangement signed in 2009 with IMF for approximately $230 million USD. And the recent selection of Mongolia in the Millennium Challenge Corporation's compact program is also an encouraging sign.
The cost cutting measures are also being considered and the Government had indicated that up to 15% of 180,000 civil servants could be affected. In reality we expect many of those people to keep their jobs. However, those people's responsibilities and benefit packages may be altered. None the less, we at MIBG believe this is the right start and the beginning of a natural reaction to the economic slowdown.
Stalled projects: Is Gatsuurt a strategic deposit
As we draft this analysis, the parliament discussion is taking place on whether to include Gatsuurt in the strategic deposit list as requested by the license holder Centerra Gold Mongolia LLC. To remind our readers, the project lost considerable value when the license area was included in the water and forest act, hence one of the ways of moving the project forward is to include the project within the strategic deposit list. It is evident from the discussions that many members of parliament are supporting the idea of increased foreign investment and potential for increased domestic production of gold, which will likely support the Mongolian Tugrik. However the opposing MP's caution that when the deposit is listed as strategic, the Government will have to own a stake and finance its shares with tax payers money.
We will continue to monitor the related development and provide update when necessary.
Mongolia Adopts Law on Libraries to Improve Standards, Public Access
Ulaanbaatar, December 19 (MONTSAME) The plenary meeting of parliament on December 19 adopted the law on library.
According to the introduction of the draft law, made by member of the Standing Committee on Social Policy, Education, Culture and Sciences Yo.Otgonbayar, the law consists of seven chapters and 27 sections. It will regulate the legal persons in charge of library services of all 1,509 libraries, their responsibilities and rights, legal status and activities of the National Library, ensuring of the customers' rights, and other related interactions.
"The above matters have been addressed differently in regards of the variety of governance, adjustment between the sectors, archives' registrations and accounting, the services for readers and storage conditions. "A few historic cultural masterpieces in libraries were registered and conserved in accordance with the Law on Cultural Heritage, however, other hand writings and sutras owned by individuals and private libraries have been beyond reach of the legal regulation," said the MP.
The initiator of the draft considers that the adopting of the law will achieve success in satisfaction of international standards of the libraries, improving access to information for the public, and improving the quality of services to meet the intellectual needs of the people.
The law was adopted on its final reading, with approval vote of 82.1 percent.
Mongolia Jumps 10 Spots to 88th in 2014 World Press Freedom Index
Ulaanbaatar, December 19 (MONTSAME) Mongolia has been ranked 88th place with 30.3 points in this year's Press Freedom Index which has been released by the Reporters Without Borders international NGO.
The index of Mongolia for this year scaled up 10 places against the previous year. Mongolia was listed at 98th place in 2013 and 100th place in 2012.
The 2014 World Press Freedom Index spotlights the negative impact of conflicts on freedom of information and its protagonists. The ranking of some countries has also been affected by a tendency to interpret national security needs in an overly broad and abusive manner to the detriment of the right to inform and be informed. This trend constitutes a growing threat worldwide and is even endangering freedom of information in countries regarded as democracies. Finland tops the index for the fourth year running, closely followed by Netherlands and Norway, like last year. At the other end of the index, the last three positions are again held by Turkmenistan, North Korea and Eritrea, three countries where freedom of information is non-existent. Despite occasional turbulence in the past year, these countries continue to be news and information black holes and living hells for the journalists who inhabit them.
This year's index covers 180 countries, one more than last year. The new entry, Belize, has been assigned an enviable position (29th). Cases of violence against journalists are rare in Belize but there were some problems: defamation suits involving demands for large amounts in damages, national security restrictions on implementation of the Freedom of Information Act and sometimes unfair management of broadcast frequencies.
PwC: Global CEO Survey 2014 – Mongolian Edition
November 2014, Presentation for BCM, Matthew Pottle
Mineral Sector Gathers for Open Discussion on Transparency of Agreements
Ulaanbaatar, December 18 (MONTSAME) "Transparency of agreements in minerals' sector", a multilateral and open discussion is being held at the "Blue Sky" hotel.
Present at the event are B.Otgochuluu, a director of Mining Ministry's Department for Strategy and Policy Planning, Sh.Tsolmon, a working group secretary of Exractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), leaders of Ministry of Finance and representatives of civil society and scholars.
Mongolian Bankers' Association Elects TDB's Orkhon as New President
December 18 (infomongolia.com) On December 16, 2014, the IX Plenary Session of Mongolian Bankers' Association (MBA) was held at its meeting hall, where one of the issues resolved was making changes in the MBA leadership.
According to local regulations, the MBA renews its management every two years with additional extension for 1 year and current President's term of duty is ending this year being chaired by Mr. Magvan BOLD, Executive Director of Khas Bank (XacBank).
At the plenary session, members of MBA elected Mr. Onon ORKHON, First Deputy CEO of Trade and Development Bank (TDB) as the next President of MBA.
Moreover, the Mongolian Bankers' Association has three Vice Presidents and during the session, members have elected its two new Vice Presidents due to term endings.
The elected MBA Vice Presidents are Mr. Davaakhuu TUMURKHUU, Executive Director of Arig Bank (former Erel Bank) and Mr. Byadran LKHAGVASUREN, Executive Director of Deposit Insurance Corporation.
The preceding two Vice Presidents are CEO of TDM B.Medree and Director of Risk Management Committee of Golomt Bank M.Chingun, besides CEO of Khan Bank, Mr. Norihiko Kato is the third Vice President of MBA.
Bankers' Association Selects New President – Montsame, December 18
Expo Mongolia 2015: International Mining and Multi Sector Trade Fair, March 23-25
December 17 (infomongolia.com) The "Expo Mongolia 2015", International Mining and Multi Sector Trade Fair organized by JV Consult Mongolia LLC and German Planet Fair Group, is scheduled to be organized at the Buyant Ukhaa Sports Palace in Ulaanbaatar on March 23-25, 2015.
Expo Mongolia will be giving exhibitors the chance to make a significant step into the Mongolian market and develop business relations in Asia.
The show profile includes all important industries such as:
- Building & Construction
- Alternative Energy
Expo Mongolia is locally supported by the Ministry of Mining, Ministry of Environment and Green Development, State Property Committee, and Mongolian National Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Moreover, German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy already confirmed an official German pavilion for 2015 that is supported by the biggest Engineering Association VDMA. Countries like Canada, Czech Republic, Chile, Korea, Russia, Ukraine and the United Kingdom are interested as well.
Mongolia has transformed itself to a vibrant democracy with a booming economy. Mongolia is still in a major transformation process driven by the exploitation of its vast mineral resources. The share of mining in GDP today stands at 20 percent, twice the ratio of a decade ago. The economic growth rate was 11.7 percent in 2013, compared to 6.4 percent GDP growth in 2010.
GDP is expected to grow at a double digit rate over the period from 2013 to 2017. (Source: World Bank, Bloomberg, Diplomat.com)
The occurrence of mineral resources such as coal, gold, silver, copper, oil or rare earth elements let Mongolia change into an important export country for the coming decades. The Mongolian government makes every effort to boost the development of the country. Infrastructure development must be pursued in a timely manner to extract the resources and to bring them into global trade. Other sectors such as industrial, education, medical health, transportation or IT will be further developed.
MIAT opens Mongolia's first customs bonded factory
December 17 (UB Post) The Maintenance and Engineering (M&E) Organization of the MIAT Mongolian Airlines has been certified to operate the first customs bonded factory in Mongolia at the Order No. A/222 of the Chairman of the General Customs Office (GCO) on December 4. The opening was held on December 12.
At the opening, directors of MIAT Mongolian Airlines noted that receiving license for a customs bonded factory is significant for promoting production and the sector that will lead Mongolia's economy, and reducing customs clearance time and cost. They also underlined that this was a major event for MIAT Mongolian Airlines and its M&E Organization as the government policy to improve competitiveness in the global market has been issued for the first time with support from the GCO in Mongolia.
According to Vice President of MIAT N.Ganbold, being granted with the license to operate the first Mongolian customs bonded factory by the GCO is a big event for the company. He noted that the license would become a massive support for the company as it will create various advantages such as saving time and ensure ease of workload.
"Previously, we used to waste a lot of time on spare parts clearances at the customs. Now we can do online clearances and airlift goods and inventory. This is a huge opportunity. Currently, one to two percent of ticket sales of MIAT Mongolian Airlines are being carried out online. We will be working towards increasing online ticket sales to ten to 15 percent," said N.Ganbold.
M&E entered its third market and started performing heavy maintenance services, which is expanding the scope for MIAT Mongolian Airlines while rapidly increasing its import and export operations. According to N.Ganbold, quick purchase of spare parts and components is essential for eliminating shortage during engineering and maintenance services in a short period and easing customs clearance will become an advantage for enhancing competitiveness in international markets.
M&E is approved by European Aviation Safety Agency under EASA Part-145 regulation to perform maintenance and engineering services for Boeing 767-300ER, Boeing 767-300 and other aircrafts. M&E has performed quick and quality maintenance work for Thailand's B767-300 aircraft from the Orient Thai Company and South Korea's B737-800 from Easter Jet Company several times. This was the first time Mongolia had performed heavy maintenance on aircrafts from foreign markets. The organization was complimented by many clients for completing high quality services in the country. For 2015, M&E received requests for heavy maintenance and engineering services for over ten aircrafts from Russia and other countries.
The most time-consuming issue for purchasing and returning spare parts for maintenance services is resolving related issues including customs clearance, notifying the customs office, and receiving customs inspection. By granting special approval to operate customs bonded factory at the 3,600 meter squared land of M&E, the regulation to exempt aircraft for civil air transportation and its parts from customs duties and other taxes that are specified in the Customs Law will become active.
This event has furthered the relation between MIAT Mongolian Airlines and the GCO to a new level, according to N.Ganbold.
Source: Undesnii Shuudan
IFC: SMEs and Women-Owned SMEs in Mongolia - Market Research Study
December 17 (IFC) --
The World Bank Group has been active in Mongolia since 1991 and has invested in many projects across a variety of sectors. International Finance Corporation (IFC) is a member of the World Bank Group and is the largest global development institution focusing exclusively on the private sector. IFC has been active in Mongolia for more than two decades and has provided equity, loans and trade financing, as well as advisory services to companies, financial institutions and regulatory authorities.
Supporting growth and competitiveness of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) is central to IFC's strategy in Mongolia. The future IFC programs in Mongolia will also prioritize women-owned SMEs in order to address some of the obstacles that women entrepreneurs face accessing finance.
IFC wishes to compile data on both male- and female-owned enterprises in Mongolia in order to better understand the business characteristics of SMEs, the profile of the entrepreneurs, their relations with financial institutions, the challenges they face, and their expectations for the future. For this purpose, IFC has commissioned the Frankfurt School of Finance & Management (FS) and the Independent Research Institute of Mongolia (IRIM) to conduct market research focusing on the enabling environment, and supply and demand prospects for SMEs, with particular focus on women-owned businesses. The study is expected to provide guidance to IFC in the design and implementation of their SME Banking and Women in Business Programs for Mongolia.
The market research was carried out by a team of international and local consultants in May-July 2014. It started with the desk review of the literature related to the topic.
Two sets of questionnaires were developed for the assessment of the supply and demand regarding financial products as well as services for SMEs and women-owned SMEs. To assess the environment that SMEs operate in and the availability and scope of financial and nonfinancial services provided to them, interviews were conducted with various stakeholders engaged in SME finance and gender-related and regulatory issues (Annex A). Additionally, a survey among men- and women-owned SMEs was conducted with the representative sample of 240 interviews in three cities (Ulaanbaatar, Erdenet, Darkhan). Through this survey, more information on the entrepreneurs and their businesses could be obtained and challenges, constraints and opportunities could be explored, in particular regarding access to financial and non-financial services.
Public, Private Sectors Sign MoU on Implementing "Sustainable Finance" Program
Ulaanbaatar, December 16 (MONTSAME) During the Sustainable Finance Forum organized by the Mongolian Banks' Association (MBA) on December 16, the participants to the event adopted a memorandum of understanding on co-implementing the programs of sustainable finance.
The forum has gathered some 400 officials including the Deputy Mayor responsible for Urban Development and Investments S.Ochirbat, a president of the MBA M.Bold, a Minister of Environment, Green Development and Tourism D.Oyunkhorol, representatives of international organizations, banks and businesses.
Discussed issues were Mongolia's policy on green development, global trends and best practices, roles and participation of banking sector in the establishment of green economy, and coordinating the development of Ulaanbaatar with Sustainable Finance.
The MBA developed the principles of sustainable finance taking into consideration the pressing issues for the environment and the society. In a scope of the implementation of such principles, banks will introduce in their work and decision-making processes the guidance in four main spheres--mining, construction, agriculture and processing industry--from February of 2015. By this, the banks will be able to estimate the economic efficiency and risks of the projects to be financed by them, and to manage the financing impacts on the environment and society, thus to refuse to finance unpleasant projects.
The MoU was adopted by the Ministry of Environment, Green Development and Tourism and the Bank of Mongolia, at their support for implementing sustainable development policies through the financial leverage and for promoting green economy.
ZMEngineering becomes licensed Hardox Wearparts Center
December 18 (Mongolian Economy) In 15th December 2014, ZMEngineering (ZME) LLC the Mongolian mining metal structure manufacturing and design engineering company, has started cooperation with the world-leading company in special steel, SSAB's Hardox Wearparts.
The aim is to together develop and provide top quality and cutting edge wear parts and service for mainly the mining, construction and energy industry in Mongolia. Hardox Wearparts has more than 140 centers which operate in more than 40 countries globally.
The company is one of the largest global actor within complementary products with the concept of one stop shop. The idea is to offer the customer an exceptional experience by a customized portfolio of optimized wear solution, product delivery, installation and keeping it up and running.
ZME was founded in December 2006, and has built on a reputation for service excellence. ZME's highly skilled team of engineers and technicians, together with powerful, modern equipment, have met and exceeded all clients' expectations. With the drive to become the leader in Manufacturing of Metal Structure and Design Engineering for all industrial sectors in Mongolia, ZME is taking the step to a stronger, lighter and a more sustainable world.
ZME' team is available to assist clients with inspection, maintenance, repair, and failure analysis. ZME works closely with NDT specialists and laboratory technologists to provide innovative solutions for clients. ZME is quickly becoming the leader in Design Engineering for all industrial sectors of Mongolia.
The next steps for this cooperation is to penetrate into new markets by introducing new wear parts and complementary products for all industries in Mongolia.
UK Trade & Investment:
Ulaanbaatar City signs Memorandum on Cooperation with Asia Foundation
December 16 (news.mn) Ulaanbaatar City Administrative officials, including Capital City Governor and Ulaanbaatar Mayor Bat-Uul Erdene, are paying an official visit to San Francisco. On Monday, Ulaanbaatar Mayor Bat-Uul Erdene met The Asia Foundation President David Arnold.
At the meeting, The Asia Foundation gave a brief introduction of ongoing projects targeted to improve the quality of life of citizens in Ulaanbaatar to Ulaanbaatar city officials. They also discussed the quality and access of public services; accomplishments in urban development, in particular re-planning the ger districts; and exchanged opinions on the range of future projects ranges and promotion.
Following the meeting, Mayor Bat-Uul Erdene and David Arnold signed a memorandum of cooperation between Ulaanbaatar and The Asia Foundation.
The parties agreed to maintain joint projects of mapping khoroos in Ulaanbaatar in order to cultivate the re-planning of ger districts and to keep planning on track, increase citizen involvement in re-planning and resolutions at the community level, develop an economic strategy for Ulaanbaatar, improve waste management, cut corruption, and strengthen transparency.
Ulaanbaatar and Asia Foundation Expand Cooperation – Montsame, December 16
Ulaanbaatar City Signs MoU with Cisco System on Smart City Initiatives
December 19 (infomongolia.com) Mongolian delegates led by Governor of the Capital City and Mayor of Ulaanbaatar, Erdene BAT-UUL are conducting a working visit to the United States these days.
In the frameworks of implementing "Smart Ulaanbaatar" Program, UB Mayor E.BatUul signed a Memorandum of Understanding to cooperate with authorities of leading American IT Company, Cisco Systems, Inc. in San Jose, California.
Under the MoU, Ulaanbaatar Municipality and Cisco Systems will be collaborating in the following areas:
- Technology-based smart cloud governance solutions.
- City Cloud Data Center. This Data Center will be developing and compiling all public e-services including education, health care and Manufacturing Information System. Data Center shall consist of networks, computing and cloud management software.
- E-government network. This is an integrated network infrastructure, where each unit and citizen will be connected to egovernment services.
- E-government information systems.
- City wireless network. Prepaid and free Wi-Fi network will enable to access all residents of the city.
- Internet of Everything (IoE). IoE is capable of helping organizations achieve many public-policy goals, including increased economic growth and improvements in environmental sustainability, public safety and security, delivery of government services, and productivity.
- Smart: Connected City Traffic. Optimize traffic control to reduce traffic congestion.
- Smart Parking. To provide people with instant information looking for parking space.
- Smart + Connected City Street Lighting. To manage street lighting reducing the cost of electricity.
- Unified Communication.
- Cellular-based video communication technology.
- Smart Education.
Cisco Systems to Cooperate in "Smart Ulaanbaatar" – Montsame, December 19
Mapping Mongolia's Urban Ger Areas in Ulaanbaatar
December 17 (The Asia Foundation) Infrastructure in Mongolia's sprawling capital Ulaanbaatar has not kept up with the rapid growth of unplanned ger areas within the city, leading to harsh conditions for newcomers. 1.5 million people now live in Ulaanbaatar, more than twice as many as the city was built to sustain. Since July 2012, The Asia Foundation has been implementing an urban services project in Ulaanbaatar as part of a partnership with the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. This week, the Foundation hosted a Mongolian delegation led by the Capital City Governor and Mayor of Ulaanbaatar, Mr. Bat-Uul Erdene, in San Francisco to highlight the partnership between the Foundation and the Ulaanbaatar City Municipality, culminating in the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between both parties to improve and expand opportunities of the citizens of Ulaanbaatar.
In this video, city officials and Foundation staff share how the project is strengthening evidence-based and participatory planning through a community mapping initiative in the ger areas and improving solid waste management through a model khoroo (sub-district) solid waste management project. Other areas of collaboration include support for the city charter development process and the development of an Ulaanbaatar economic development strategy to increase growth and job opportunities in the city.
Culture Minister to Raise Issue of Bogdkhaan's Palace at Cabinet Meeting
Ulaanbaatar, December 19 (MONTSAME) The Minister of Education, Culture and Sciences L.Gantomor decided December 18 to notify the Cabinet about the land ownership of Bogdkhaan's Palace Museum.
He made such a decision after having paid an unexpected visit to the museum where he met a security guard and five people from the management. The visit was for a discovery of truth, after a spread of rumors that the 21 Taras at the museum is in a danger to be lost and that the museum land got into hands of unknown individual.
After listening to the museum personnel, the Minister decided to submit this issue to the cabinet.
Outdoor ice rink opens at Chinggis Khaan Square
December 19 (news.mn) A temporary outdoor ice rink has officially opened at Chinggis Khaan Square.
The 50х25 meter outdoor ice rink offers a changing room and lighting.
The outdoor ice rink will be available from 10:00 a.m. to midnight for the season.
Tickets start at 1,500 MNT per adult for one hour. The rink can hold 50 to 100 skaters at once say ice park officials.
37 street children returned to parents
December 19 (news.mn) The Ulaanbaatar Metropolitan Police Department launched a campaign to identify homeless and street children in collaboration with the Child and Family Development Centre, between December 16-17th.
In the scope of the campaign, the Ulaanbaatar Metropolitan Police Department and Child and Family Development Centre identified 74 street children in Ulaanbaatar, registered them, and provided them with health check-ups.
Thirty-seven children were returned to their families and parents, while 37 were delivered to children's centers in the city.
Mongolia Cabinet Decides on Location of New Children's Hospital
Ulaanbaatar, December 18 (MONTSAME) The cabinet meeting on December 17 discussed again an issue of establishing a new hospital for children with 150 beds. A decision was made that the hospital will occupy a Government Building No.13, the former building of Ministry of Road and Transport.
The Ministry will move to a building of recently dismissed Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism. A Minister of Health and Sports G.Shiilegdamba was obliged to commission the hospital by early February of 2015.
NATO and Mongolia review cooperation through science
27 Nov. 2014 | Last updated: 19 Dec. 2014 16:15 (NATO) --
Since Mongolia became a global partner of NATO less than two years ago, the NATO Science for Peace and Security (SPS) Programme has supported a number of projects in the field of science and innovation. An event to review these efforts and identify ways to further enhance collaboration took place in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia on 27 November.
India, Mongolia need increased cooperation to prevent transnational crimes: Rajnath Singh
New Delhi , December 19 (ANI) Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has said that India and Mongolia need increased cooperation for effective prevention and detection of crime with the growth of global terrorism, transnational crimes like drug trafficking, smuggling of illegal arms and ammunition.
Addressing the visiting Mongolian delegation led by the Head of General Authority on Border Protection (GABP) of Mongolia, Brig. Gen. Lkhachinjav, here today, he stated that India has always shared strong historical, cultural and spiritual ties with Mongolia and the diplomatic relations between the two nations are almost 60 years old.
Singh assured all possible help to GABP like assistance in capacity building in the areas of special operations, cyber security, information technology and computers, weapons and tactics, bomb disposal, disaster management etc., and stated that India can train GABP Mongolia officers in these areas.
The Home Minister also stated that India can help GABP in building capacity by Trainer Development Programs so that they can impart skills to other members of GABP in Mongolia itself.
He further stated that both GABP and BSF work in similar terrains and face similar challenges and added that both the forces can learn from the best practices in border management followed by each force.
"Border management in high altitude and cold regions and deserts can be one of the areas of focus," he added.
Singh further said that both nations can help each other in better management of borders through exchange of technology, equipment and methodology of border management.
He said that there is a need of joint exercises between GABP and BSF in operational, training and technology exchange.
Border Management Secretary Sneh Lata Kumar, BSF Director General D.K. Pathak and other senior officers from the MHA, BSF and GABP were present on the occasion.
India to Help Mongolia in Modernizing Weapons And Tactics – Outlook India, December 19
India wants cooperation with Mongolia to curb terrorism – IANS, December 19
Union Home Minister says India and Mongolia need increased cooperation to prevent transnational crimes – Odishadiary, December 19
Canada Funds Mongolia's Eco Med LLC as Part of 23 Bold New Ideas for Global Health
TORONTO, ON--(Marketwired - December 19, 2014) - Ultra high-speed gaming laptops and a sensor that lets computer gamers battle foes in the virtual world proved early stepping stones on the path to a quick, inexpensive way to create fittings for artificial legs needed by child amputees in the developing world.
And, with a new grant from Grand Challenges Canada, funded by the Government of Canada, scientists will field test their innovation at a children's hospital in Uganda early next year.
The full list of grantees includes:
· Eco Med LLC, Mongolia: Immunotherapy of atherosclerosis (http://bit.ly/1vOPZH7http://bit.ly/1vOPZH7)
New Foreign Minister Underlines Importance of "Single Window" Foreign Policy
Ulaanbaatar, December 16 (MONTSAME) This was underlined by Foreign affairs Minister LPurevsuren at the cabinet meeting on Monday.
He introduced to the cabinet a matter on ensuring the integrity of the country's foreign policy and actions, which was approved by the governmental resolution last year. The Ministers, Mayor of Ulaanbaatar and governors of aimags have been obliged to adhere in their work to this vital rule that generally focuses on implementing the foreign policy on a principle of a "single window". It means that state servants' foreign visits, their negotiations with foreign states and private organizations, and treaties and documents signing are to be brought under one united management and accordance. "This will help the state more wisely and profoundly design directions for the cooperation with external partners and ensure the national security," the government considers.
New Foreign Minister receives Kuwaiti Ambassador
Ulaanbaatar, December 18 (MONTSAME) The Foreign Minister L.Purevsuren received Kuwaiti Ambassador to Mongolia Mr Khaled Al-Fadhli on December 17.
The sides talked about the means of developing bilateral cooperation in all domains and activating functions of joint Ministerial committees. The meeting also shed light on current global issues and common interests.
The Mongolian Minister expressed an appreciation to an invitation by First Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah to visit the State of Kuwait in the foreseeable future.
New Defense Minister meets China, US Ambassadors
Ulaanbaatar, December 16 (MONTSAME) The Minister of Defense Ts.Tsolmon Monday received Mr Wang Xiaolong, the Ambassador of the People's Republic of China to Mongolia, and Ms Piper Anne Wind Campbell, the US Ambassador to Mongolia.
The Minister expressed a satisfaction with meeting the dignitaries from the two countries Mongolia has defense ties and cooperation with, and discussed with them issues of the cooperation and its future.
Mr Wang Xiaolong said all the measures and events were successful that ran in the defense sector in frames of the 65th anniversary of the Mongolia-China diplomatic relations.
The US Ambassador Ms Campbell wished the Minister a success and said the defense sphere plays a leading role in the Mongolia-USA relations and cooperation. She also said she will do her best to boost this collaboration, enriching it with new contents.
Mongolia's Dornod, Russia's Zabakailsky Provinces Hold First Business Forum
December 16 (infomongolia.com) On December 15-17, 2014, the First Business Forum themed "Business Without Borders" between Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Dornod Aimag of Mongolia and Zabakailsky Region of the Russian Federation is taking place in Chita city of Zabaykalsky Krai.
In his opening remarks, President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Zabaykalsky Krai, Andrey Markov said, "We go back to the centuries-old friendship between our peoples. We are ready to help and develop our relationship and will do our best. In fact, trade and economic relations between the Zabakailsky Region and Dornog Aimag have a long history. Today, only need to bring them back to the previous level. Notably, an important role in this played a recent official visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to Mongolia".
Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Dornog Aimag, E.Adiya added, "Since the visa-free regime came into force, this meeting will give a positive impact on business development and tourism, so we came to the forum to expand our cooperation in the fields of joint projects in mining, light industry, and food industry. Basically, we want to export coal and meat from Mongolia, we have a lot of meat".
During the first Business Forum, round table meetings, seminars, official meetings, exhibitions of goods and products displayed from both sides are being organized.
Vatican Pledges to Continue Identifying Historical Documents on Mongol Empire from Archives
December 19 (infomongolia.com) On December 18, 2014, a non-resident Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Mongolia to Vatican City State, Mr. Vaanchig PUREVDORJ has presented a Letter of Credence to the Sovereign of State, His Holiness Pope Francis.
At the beginning of credential handing ceremony, newly accredited envoy conveyed a warm greeting of the President of Mongolia Ts.Elbegdorj to the head of state of Vatican City, who responded with profound greetings and flourishing development to the people of Mongolia.
In the scope of presenting the credentials, Ambassador V.Purevdorj was received by Cardinal Secretary of State, His Eminence Pietro Parolin, Substitute for General Affairs to the Secretary of State, Archbishop Giovanni Angelo Becciu and Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, the Most Reverend Dominique Mamberti to discuss issues of bilateral relations and cooperation as well as collaboration possibilities in humanitarians.
During the meeting, the heads of Vatican City State pledged to advocate continuing research studies on identifying historical documents about Mongol Empire and related sources from Vatican Archive and Libraries as well as to support Mongolia's maternal and child health service improvements by providing expenses for Mongolian physicians and staff to study in short-term trainings abroad.
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary V.Purevdorj to Vatican City State has been representing Mongolia to the Swiss Confederation since July 2014 with residency in Geneva and to the Principality of Liechtenstein since September 2014.
Moreover, he serves as the Permanent Representative of Mongolia to the UN Office and other international organizations in Geneva since December 2013.
Mongolia and Vatican City State have established diplomatic relations on April 04, 1992.
Ambassador Presents Credentials to Pope Francis – Montsame, December 19
Social Policy Committee Chairman receives EU advisor
Ulaanbaatar, December 16 (MONTSAME) International advisor to the European Union Mr Mel Kausen was received by the head of the Standing Committee on social policy, education, culture and sciences D.Battsogt MP on Tuesday.
The guest thanked the MP for receiving him and said that many projects have been successfully implemented in Mongolia by the EU, "a first phase of the project on promoting the professional education has complete, the second is to commence". He also informed the MP about intended to be realized by the EU funding projects on improving an employment in Mongolia and on promoting the implementation of state policies on the employment. He is staying here to assist the development of such projects, he added.
In response, Mr Battsogt said the Ministry of Labour, established in order to achieve better employment rate, is to present to parliament a draft resolution on adopting the state policy on employment. Through enforcing such policies until 2025 in three phases, the employment will be promoted by the developments of national industry and economic sectors, as well of the communities and localities, and the resources will be efficiently distributed. "As a result, inequality in the job market will reduce, and appropriate ratio of production and wages will be set," said the MP and expressed his Standing committee's support for the EU projects and promised to collaborate.
The EU non-refundable aid funded projects on improving employment in Mongolia and on promoting the state policy implementations will be realized in 2015-2020. In frames of the realization, analysis of the legal environment on labour, capacity building for the state servants and professionals in this sphere and other important frameworks will take place.
PM Seeks Project Proposals to Be Financed by Millennium Challenge Corporation
December 16 (infomongolia.com) At the Cabinet meeting held on December 15, 2014, Prime Minister Ch.Saikhanbileg affirmed that the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) of the United States selected Mongolia to develop the second MCC compact.
Accordingly, Premier Ch.Saikhanbileg ordered all affiliated Ministers to submit required project proposals at the next Cabinet meeting.
At its quarterly meeting held on December 10, the Millennium Challenge Corporation Board of Directors voted Mongolia as eligible for new compact along with other countries. The Board's selection of Mongolia to develop proposals for the second compact underscores the country's commitment to good governance. Mongolia successfully completed an MCC compact in September 2013, but poverty remains significant and to the date, the MCC implemented projects worth of 284,911,363.00 USD.
Mongolian Participation in an Upgraded Eurasian Energy and Transport Grid
BY ALICIA CAMPI
Alicia Campi, President of the US-Mongolia Advisory Group, explains that "[Mongolia] needs to expand transport infrastructure for its rich minerals to reach new Asian trade partners, so it is pursuing its own long-range strategy, to maximize benefit from and minimize the dangers of rapprochement between its two giant neighbors."
December 16 (East-West Center) The world's attention has been focused this year on the accelerating economic collaboration between Russia and China across Eurasia. The conflict in Ukraine has driven the two nations to consider energy and transport options that appeared far‐fetched or too expensive only a year ago. While researchers have been quick to consider how China has taken advantage of this situation to drive down oil and LPG prices with Russian suppliers or to receive equity in Russian oil fields as part of financial investment packages, there has been little focus on successful Mongolian efforts to muscle into the Sino‐Russian deals. Mongolian President Tsakhia Elbegdorj has seized the opportunity to offer a variety of proposals to deepen his democratic country's participation in a new Silk Road Economic Belt of Eurasian rail and pipeline modernization.
Landlocked Mongolia does not want to be just a pawn in this Sino‐Russian vision of a new Eurasian world. It needs to expand transport infrastructure for its rich minerals to reach new Asian trade partners, so is pursuing its own long‐range strategy, called "Steppe Road," to maximize benefit from and minimize the dangers of rapprochement between its two giant neighbors. In late August it signed five transport‐related documents during a summit visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Ulaanbaatar. Ten days later, in a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Mongols obtained an agreement to modernize the key north‐south Ulaanbaatar Railway (UBTZ), a Mongolian‐Russian state‐owned joint stock company that accounted for 60% of Mongolia's freight traffic in 2013. On September 11th, Elbegdorj met again with Xi and Putin in a trilateral summit prior to the Dushanbe, Tajikistan meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and obtained their public agreement to explore Mongolia's role in assisting Sino‐Russian cooperation to improve transportation infrastructure interconnectivity and cross‐border transportation.
Although Russia for years has considered forging closer energy ties with China, the lack of resolution to the 2014 political crisis with the European Union – Moscow's main energy export market – revived momentum for Sino‐Russian pipeline projects and eastbound rail construction options to Northeast Asian ports that have languished for years. Their energy cooperation had begun already in the oil sector in October 2013 when Rosnest, the state‐owned Russian oil corporation, and China National Petroleum Corporation signed a $270 billion, 25‐year supply agreement, with about $70 billion worth of prepayments. Rosnest also agreed to an $85 billion, 10‐year oil‐supply deal with China Petrochemical Corp. (CNPC). But Russia was very reluctant to move forward with natural gas cooperation, because it could get higher prices by selling to European clients. It was not until May 2014, after one decade of negotiations, that Russia and China signed a $400 billion deal to supply Siberian gas, at a unit cost perhaps as much as $30 less per thousand cubic meters than the 2013 European price, to China by 2019 through a 4,000‐kilometer (2,485 mile) pipeline called the "Power of Siberia." In 2012, President Elbegdorj Mongolia to save 1,000 kilometers (622 miles) of pipe, but the two countries rejected the cost‐savings involved in the shorter route in order to deliberately avoid transiting Mongolia.
Russia, since 2006, has been talking to the Chinese about its state‐owned Gazprom developing a second, more expensive, 'Altai Pipeline' to Xinjiang. China had resisted cooperation since its major gas markets are in the east and Xinjiang is already well-supplied with LPG from Kazakhstan. However, the threat of increasing sanctions motivated Russia to reopen discussions about Chinese financing. President Putin, when breaking ground on the Power of Siberia pipeline in September 2014, announced that Rosnest was discussing permitting Chinese investment in its Vankor, Siberia oil operation that would be the biggest Chinese equity participation so far in onshore oil in Russia, and Russian authorities now support this idea. China also may be more interested because its National Energy Administration (NEA) cut its forecast of domestic shale gas production in 2020 by more than half. Mongolian President Elbegdorj in Dushanbe immediately took advantage of this developing situation to obtain a trilateral agreement to consider shifting the western route to cross Mongolia in order to overcome a high altitude construction problem through a nature preserve and thereby reduce Altai Pipeline costs.
The Russians traditionally have been opposed to Chinese investment in their aging Eurasian rail sector that has a non‐compatible gauge to the Chinese standard one. The Trans‐Siberian lines are the oldest and most overloaded in the Russian system, but there has been no progress on attracting western, Japanese, or Korean investment for three decades. Greatly increasing freight trade volume between China and Russia (predicted to hit $100 billion in 2014) and deepening Sino‐Russian energy cooperation were catalysts for the announcement of October 29th to construct a high‐speed passenger rail that would reduce the 7000 kilometer Moscow to Beijing trip from six to two days, at a cost of $230 billion on a 5‐year construction schedule. This rail line would parallel Mongolia's Ulaanbaatar Railway, which then could be utilized solely for freight traffic.
Mongolia consistently has offered to facilitate discussions between China and Russia on rail freight modernization so that Mongolia will become a "transit corridor." In late October in Beijing there were bilateral talks to allow Chinese firms to invest and build additional Mongolian transit infrastructure, and this winter Ulaanbaatar will again host a meeting of its 'Mongolian‐Russian‐Chinese Northern Railway,' created in 2013. The Mongolian Development Bank has partially funded the design and survey of an 1800 kilometer 'New Railway' project and for a 243 kilometer line from the giant Tavan Tolgoi coal/uranium mine in the south Gobi to the Chinese border. Major new financing could be found in the newly organized Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), since the Mongolian parliament just passed a new National Rail Policy that finally permits construction of narrow‐gauge railroad spurs.
President Elbegdorj has convinced his big neighbor counterparts that their dreams for a revitalized 21st century Silk Road should include, not exclude, Mongolia. Putin confirmed this on September 3rd when he said: "It therefore makes sense to put Mongolia's transport possibilities to greater use than is the case today," and Xi in Dushanbe agreed publicly to build a China‐Mongolia‐Russia economic corridor. For Mongolia the present challenge is how to allay the concerns of 'third neighbors' Japan, South Korea, U.S., and the European Community, which worry over how Mongolia's strengthening transportation and energy cooperation with its border neighbors might shut them out of Mongolia's rich mineral market and even endanger Mongolia's commitment to democratic institutions as it becomes even more integrated into growing Sino‐Russian economic plans.
Dr. Alicia Campi is President of the US-Mongolia Advisory Group and researcher at the Reischauer Center/SAIS at Johns Hopkins University. She can be contacted via email at email@example.com.
Mongolia Vows Legal Actions for Green Tara Auctioned for $4.3 Million
December 17 (GoGo Mongolia) L.Gantumur, Minister of Education, Culture and Science have reported that the ministry is planning to claim the Green Tara, a 17th century Mongolian bronze figure that was sold for 3.46 million euros ($4.3 million) at an auction in Paris despite the Mongolian government's efforts to block the sale.
Ministry of Education, Culture and Science is to act on behalf of the Government of Mongolia in this claim. In this regard, the working group is to be establshed involving legal experts, paleontholigists, art expert and representative from religious organizations. Moreover, the Ministry is to hire French language translators. L.Gantumur also reported that Ministry is put requests for police investigations on possible smuggling of the cultural artefacts, citing the International Convention against smuggling of the cultural heritage artefacts.
Minister Gantumur, UFC's Amartuvshin Chosen Best Young Leaders at Next Stop Awards
December 19 (infomongolia.com) Mongolian Youth Federation in collaboration with Young Leader Fund has hosted the "Next Stop" youth festivity for the consecutive 22nd year on December 18, 2014.
This year's celebration took place in the Crocus Event Hall, Ulaanbaatar and the ceremonial event has been hosting with purpose to name the Best Youth of the Year by awarding the Next Stop Awards for outstanding achievements made in the passing year.
In 2014 Next Stop Awards, 49 nominations from socio-political and 39 from business and economical sectors were promoted.
The selection of nominees was held online from December 11 to 17 and at the evening, winners were announced and the Top Award of Golden Gerege were given to Mr. Luvsannyam GANTUMUR, incumbent Minister for Education, Culture and Science of Mongolia, who received most votes in the socio-political category and to Mr. Otgondavaa AMARTUVSHIN, President of UFC Group, who received most votes in the business-economical category.
The opening speech was delivered by the First President of Mongolia P.Ochirbat and the Golden Gerege was handed by the Speaker of the Parliament Z.Enkhbold, where many respectful personnel from various spheres were present.
The Award-Winning Candidate as the Politician of the Year, Minister L.Gantumur has been re-elected in the new Coalition Government and the 2014 Economist of the Year, UFC Group President O.Amartuvshin has also been promoted recently for candidacy of the President of Mongolian National Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Moreover, the "Best Leader" Award was conferred to Mr. O.Gombojav, Executive Director of "Maxima Media" LLC, the "Justice Golden Star" to First Sergeant A.Altantsugts, Police Officer of Bayanzurkh District and the "Success Bronze Star" Award was handed to Mr. T.Sanchir, International Master of Sports.
Before, the Next Stop Top Awards were given to the President of Mongolia two times, Prime Minister - 6, Member of Parliament - 18, Minister - 14, and Governor of Central Bank of Mongolia two times respectively.
'Next Stop' winners announced – news.mn, December 19
Transformation Index BTI 2014: Mongolia #40/129
Mongolia made headlines in major media outlets around the world during the review period (2011–2013) for one reason in particular – the country's unprecedented economic growth. Fueled by a mining boom, the Mongolian economy has becoming one of the fastest-growing in the world subject to considerable investments. According to official estimates, the economy grew by 17.3% in 2011 and 12.3% in 2012, and estimates place growth at 18% to 20% for 2013. This rapid growth has yielded some benefits for the country overall, as the poverty rate fell from 39% in 2011 to 28% in 2012. At the same time, however, socioeconomic inequality is growing.
The key political events during the review period include the renaming of the former ruling party, the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party (MPRP), to the Mongolian People's Party (MPP); the splitting in 2011 of former president Enkhbayar Nambar and others from the MPP to form their own party and reclaim the old name of MPRP; the arrest and sentencing of Enkhbayar on charges of corruption; and parliamentary and local elections in 2012.
The 2012 parliamentary election was historic in many aspects. For one, it was held under a new mixed proportional-majoritarian electoral system, which significantly changed the dynamics and landscape of politics in Mongolia. The Democratic Party (DP), which for the second time in its history won a majority in parliament, also managed to gain a majority at the local level. As a result, the DP for the first time held the presidency with a majority in parliament and local governments at the same time. Second, the new system allowed other parties to gain traction. The MPRP-led Justice Coalition, advocating resource nationalism, rose to win 11out of 76 seats in the parliament. The Justice Coalition joined the ruling coalition with the DP and the Civil Will-Green Party (CWGP), holding 25% of the government's cabinet seats. Finally, the new election law also introduced a candidacy quota of 20% for women.
In general, the elections were seen as fair and democratic. However, there was controversy surrounding the arrest of the former president Enkhbayar on corruption charges in the run-up to the parliamentary election. Whereas his supporters viewed this as a political tactic on the part of his competitors, others believed it to be just, though long overdue. The issue attracted unprecedented international coverage, largely as the result of a huge public relations campaign conducted by Enkhbayar's family and international politicians with personal and business connections to Enkhbayar.
The management of natural resources, which includes the massive Oyu Tolgoi (OT) gold-copper mine, dominated political and economic discourse during the period under review. The mine's development has generated concerns about environmental problems and policies governing other strategic resources. Public opinion is divided over the Mongolian government's 34% share in the OT mine, a share that was stipulated in the 2009 investment agreement. Indeed, the 2012 election campaign was marked by growing support for resource nationalism. Nonetheless, work on the OT project continued and the mine went into commercial operation in the first half of 2013. Estimates suggest that once in full production, OT will account for one-third of Mongolia's GDP.
Bill Submitted on Tackling Hep-C Epidemic in Mongolia
Ulaanbaatar, December 16 (MONTSAME) Health and sports Minister G.Shiilegdamba received on December 16 a draft of the "National program on reducing incidence of hepatitis C in Mongolia" from his Vice J.Amarsanaa.
The program, initiated by the latter, was considered on December 5 by 32 professionals from the National Center for Oncology, the National Center for Infectious Diseases, the National University of Medical Science, the Academy of Sciences, the Mongolian Academy of Medical Science, the Health Department of Ulaanbaatar, the Institute of Medical Science, the First and Second state clinics, "Intermed" and "Grandmed" hospitals.
Mr Amarsanaa said that 15 percent of Mongolia's population is suffering from Hep-C infection, a main cause of liver cancer and hardening. "Hepatic diseases claim 2,400-2,700 lives in Mongolia every year and have become a second from the top cause of deaths. Trials and researches to invent medicines to cure Hep-C have been running since 2000, and the medicines and drugs were introduced in treatments in 2010. Mongolia leads the global chart by its liver cancer and Hepatitis incidences," said the Vice Minister stressing that this program's implementation is urgent.
Memo Signed on Establishing Mongolia-Japan Teaching Hospital
December 18 (infomongolia.com) Minister for Foreign Affairs of Mongolia, Mr. Lundeg PUREVSUREN and the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to Mongolia, Mr. Takenori Shimizu have signed a Note to Exchange between the Governments of Mongolia and Japan at the Ministry in Ulaanbaatar on December 17, 2014.
The Exchange Note is to implement Projects on "Establishing Mongolia-Japan Teaching Hospital and Developing Complete Blueprint of the Hospital" with grant aid of 2.2 billion MNT as well as providing non-project aid of 3.1 billion MNT by the Government of Japan.
In the scope of launching the Mongolia-Japan Teaching Hospital, it will provide Mongolians with an access to high standard medical service with highly skilled personnel and the project is expected to be an important move within the framework of Mongolian Government healthcare system reform.
The 3.1 billion MNT grant aid provided by the Government of Japan is a part of non-project aids that has been a highly valued contribution for Mongolia to overcome difficulties since the transition to a market economy, to improve economic structures and targeted to reduction of foreign trade deficit.
In this regard, the 3.1 billion MNT will be spent to purchase necessary equipment for the School of Industrial Technology affiliated Mongolian University of Science and Technology featuring Japanese KOSEN style.
Orbis Flying Eye Hospital's Next Mongolia Program Aimed at Children
December 18 (news.mn) It has been long since Orbis International operated in Mongolia. Since 1989 Orbis International has conducted various programs including 7 Flying Eye Hospital programs and 9 hospital based programs in Mongolia.
Orbis International is now focusing on strengthening and supporting the Model of Excellence in Modern Ophthalmology (MEMO Mongolia) Adult and Pediatric Vision Network projects that have been planned in cooperation with the Mongolian Ministry of Health. September in collaboration with the National Center for Maternal and Child Health, Orbis International have launched a program to create a model comprehensive vision care network in 5 provincial (county-level) hospitals in rural Mongolia for five years period.
Launching the program the country can continue to build a strong, high-quality service for children and avoid and cure visual impairment.
Orbis International conducts Flying Eye Hospital comprised a team of the best ophthalmologists from various countries.
Mothers and Children Health Center to Cooperate with "Flying Hospital" – Montsame, December 18
ADB Loan to Help Mongolia Overhaul TVET to Develop Skilled Workforce
ULAANBAATAR, MONGOLIA – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a concessional loan of $25 million to help Mongolia promote jobs through an overhaul of its technical and vocational education and training (TVET) system in three priority sectors—agriculture, construction, and road and transportation.
"Employers in these priority sectors face a shortage of skilled workers while the workforce is unable to take full advantage of opportunities created by investments in areas such as building, road and railway construction, and modern technology in agricultural production and processing," said Asako Maruyama, an ADB Education Specialist. "The project will support the government's reform initiatives in TVET and secondary education to better prepare the country's labor force."
The rapid growth of the Mongolian economy in recent years has changed the employment structure and demand for skills. The three priority sectors generated almost 46% of employment in 2012, but the supply of skills has not responded flexibly to labor market demand. As a result, only about 56% of TVET graduates found jobs in 2012, while national unemployment was running at 8.2%. The unemployment rate among youths aged 20-24 exceeded 17% in 2012.
The project—in collaboration with employers and industry and professional associations—will support the establishment of an industry-driven TVET system in the three priority sectors. Among the planned activities, the project will support sector subcouncils, industry and professional associations, and employers in setting standards for TVET programs and courses, establish accredited assessment and certification centers, upgrade training equipment and facilities for at least 20 TVET providers, and strengthen industry partnerships with selected TVET providers.
It will also establish training systems for TVET managers and teachers and 30 independent senior secondary schools which will offer occupation-oriented technology elective courses; and develop a credit transfer system between senior secondary education, tertiary education, and TVET.
The project will directly benefit young students who generally come from poorer families and adult students who are unemployed or looking for better job opportunities in selected TVET institutions. It will also provide all 8th and 9th grade students—almost 100,000—in junior secondary schools with career information to help them make informed choices between TVET programs and senior secondary education.
ADB's loan comes from its concessional Asian Development Fund, carrying a 25-year term, including a grace period of 5 years, and an interest rate of 2.0%. The Government of Mongolia will provide counterpart financing of $3.59 million.
ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members—48 from the region. In 2013, ADB assistance totaled $21.0 billion, including cofinancing of $6.6 billion.
ADB Sanitation Loan Targets Improved Living Conditions In Darkhan, Mongolia
ULAANBAATAR, MONGOLIA (17 December 2014) – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved loan assistance of $18.5 million to support environmentally sustainable urban development and better living standards in Darkhan, Mongolia, by improving the city's wastewater infrastructure and services.
"The project will help reduce poverty and contribute to a more balanced national urban system and stronger urban–rural relationships by supporting urban and industrial development of a second tier city in Mongolia," said Stefan Rau, an ADB Urban Development Specialist.
The growing population and expanding industries are increasing the demand for urban services, including water and wastewater, requiring investment in infrastructure to meet present and future demand. The current wastewater management and sewer system and pumping stations are outdated and in urgent need of repair or replacement. About 40% of Darkhan's urban population lives in ger (traditional tent) areas, where sanitation consists of pit latrines, which cause soil and groundwater pollution.
The assistance package comprises two loans—one concessional for $9.05 million and one from ADB's ordinary capital resources of $9.45 million—and a technical assistance grant of $400,000. The loans will finance a modern wastewater treatment plant in Darkhan with a base operating capacity of 16,000 cubic meters per day. The project will also replace 1,800 meters of dilapidated sewer pipes and rehabilitate two existing pumping stations. The technical assistance grant will be used to strengthen the institutional, managerial, and operational capacity of Darkhan's water and wastewater services, contributing to the sustainability of the project.
More than 45,000 residents or around 60% of the urban population, currently connected to the sewer system will directly benefit from the improved facilities. Once the new facilities and upgrades have been completed, a further 17,000 more residents are expected to be connected to the system by 2020.
The project, which is due for completion by the end of 2018, is expected to improve the environment of the Kharaa River and public health through improved water quality and reduced risks from waterborne diseases. It will also support the local economy by strengthening wastewater management to aid urban and industrial expansion.
The $9.45 million loan carries an interest rate determined in accordance with ADB's London Interbank offered rate (LIBOR)-lending facility. The $9.05 million loan comes from ADB's Asian Development Fund and carries an interest rate of 2.0% a year. Both loans will have a 25-year term, including a grace period of 5 years.
ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members—48 from the region. In 2013, ADB assistance totaled $21.0 billion, including cofinancing of $6.6 billion.
Inner Asia Journal Volume 16, Issue 2: Geopolitics and Geo-Economics in Mongolia: Resource Cosmopolitanism, 2014
Russian Author Publishes Book on How the Golden Horde Made Russia Rich
Ulaanbaatar, December 16 (MONTSAME) Mongolia's Ambassador Sh.Altangerel participated December 10 in a video conference that ran for a presentation of the "How the Golden Horde made the Rus' rich" book by Aleksei Shlyahtorov in Russian Chelyabinsk city.
The book has been published recently but is already in a great demand. Its author Mr Shlyakhtorov says he wants the Russians to throw away an understanding, which has become firmly in their mind during Soviet times, that the Golden Horde was nothing but a yoke of Mongol-Tatars in Rus'. "In contrary, the Golden Horde, which used to rule during the Great Mongol Empire, had helped Russia to prosper, and this is certified by valid historic sources," he stresses.
"Whoever reads this book, he/she will more or less get rid of the wrong 'Mongol-Tatars yoke' idea," he adds.
Mongolia Government to Extended School Textbook Leasing Agreement with ADB
Ulaanbaatar, December 16 (MONTSAME) The cabinet meeting on Monday gave an obligation to L.Gantomor, the Minister of Education, Culture and Science, to expand and stabilize the renting of textbooks which are financed by the Asian Development Bank (ADB). This action aims to fully provide pupils of all schools with necessary textbooks.
Mongolia conquers World Memory Championships
December 17 (UB Post) Thirteen Mongolian mental sport athletes from the Mongolian Intellectual Academy successfully participated in the 23rd World Memory Championships, which took place in Hainan, China, from December 11 to 13, earning nearly half of the competition's medals.
The Mongolian team seized 29 of the 60 medals available, and placed second out of 26 countries with 17,633 points. Athletes competed in ten different categories of the championship: random numbers, speed numbers, spoken numbers, binary numbers, playing cards, random lists of words, names and faces, historic dates, abstract images, and speed cards.
Mongolian athletes from 13 to 16 years old, who are the holders of 14 world records out of 17, competed in the junior age category and grabbed 22 medals out of a possible 30 medals. A.Anudari and E.Purevjav, both 15 years old, qualified for the International Master of Memory title, and E.Purevjav also qualified for the Grand Master of Memory title. E.Enkhmunkh participated in the junior age category and became champion followed by Grand Master Ts.Bat-Erdene, and E.Purevjav.
Grand Master U.Sengesamdan competed in the adult category and stayed in third place with 6,700 points, qualifying him for the highest title of International Grand Master of Memory. He also maintained his sixth place ranking out of 3,000 mental sport athletes around the world.
President of the Mind Sports Council Tony Buzan said during the prize granting ceremony in the speed cards category, "Mongolian boy E.Enkhmunkh, 16, who is participating in junior age category, left 183 athletes behind and became the champion. It is the one of the most amazing moments in mental sports. He proved that the human brain can memorize a pack of cards in less than 30 seconds. Congratulations!"
The 23rd World Memory Championships was attended by 184 mental athletes from 26 countries.
Former USC Pacer Alvin Brown signs pro contract to play in Mongolia
AIKEN, S.C., December – Former University of South Carolina Aiken men's basketball standout Alvin Brown will begin his international career in Mongolia with the Erdene Drilling Rigs of the National Super League.
Brown left Sunday evening for his new team.
During his time at USC Aiken, Brown was twice named the Peach Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Year. While guiding the Pacers to a school record 33 wins and a Final Four appearance during the 2013-14 season, Brown led Division II with 4.11 blocks per game.
Brown tied the Elite Eight record for blocks in a game when he stuffed eight in the victory over Chico State. For the season, he swatted 144 shots, reaching double figures in wins over P.R.-Mayaguez and Young Harris. He blocked five or more shots 12 times during his senior season.
Brown was named to the NCAA Southeast Region all-tournament team.
When he begins playing for the Rigs, it will be his fourth team during his rookie campaign.
"It has been a journey," Brown said. "There have been ups and downs, but I'm staying focused. I've learned so much from every place that I've been.
"I'm going to give it my all. The Rigs were looking for a defensive big man and I feel that I fit what they are looking for."
Mongolia's Horomhon wins China-Mongolia teenager five-a-side soccer tournament
HOHHOT, China, Dec. 16 (Xinhua) -- Mongolia's Hormokhan team won the China-Mongolia teenager five-a-side football tournament on Tuesday in Erenhot, north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.
There were three Chinese teams and two from Mongolia attending the tournament.
In the final, Hormokhan beat China's Baotou Jianjiang Club 6-3.
Erenhot, bordering Mongolia, has been a bridgehead for China's economic, trade and cultural ties with its neighbor.
In July, China's education ministry laid out plans to establish football tournaments in primary, junior and high schools as well as colleges.
13-year-old eagle huntress welcomed at Government House
December 17 (news.mn) MP A.Bakei welcomed 13-year-old eagle huntress from Bayan-Ulgii Province, Ashol-Pan, to the Government House. A Kazakh-Mongol, Ashol-Pan has been in the United Arab Emirates participating in the International Festival of Falconry in Abu Dhabi.
MP A.Bakei congratulated the young huntress, who represented Mongolia at the international festival, expressing special thanks for her efforts in promoting traditional hunting with golden eagles, and pledged to support her efforts.
The International Festival of Falconry in Abu Dhabi was attended by more than 800 falconers and associations from 80 countries this year. The event also involves more than 51 exhibitors and performers, 19 trainers, 45 painters and sculptors, and 47 photographers.
The UK's BBC did a feature om Ashok-Pan, the only 13-year-old female eagle hunter in the world, in April.
American Sets World Record Climbing Mongolian Mountain Peaks to Fight Child Hunger
Explorer Sean Burch (Virginia, USA) has set a new official world record for the most first ascents of mountain peaks in Mongolia history. Burch worked in partnership with the No Kid Hungry Program - USA, in an effort to raise awareness, educate, and stop child hunger in America.
Washington, DC, December 18, 2014 --(PR.com)-- Explorer Sean Burch (Virginia, USA) has set a new official world record for the most first ascents of mountain peaks in Mongolia history.
Burch, who has endured frostbite from previous record expeditions on Everest and in the North Pole, trained more than a year for this extreme challenge, using methods such as ice baths, arctic and Hyperfitness® training. "Burch not only broke the record, but climbed in one of the coldest months of Mongolia, which is a first as well," stated Bekbolat Bugibai, Director, Bayan-Ulgii, Mongolia.
"My fingertips are black and hard, I have frostbite on my toes, and could not feel my hands for the last 10 days. I am just happy to have endured the expedition," stated Burch. "The record is an added bonus. I was in continual survival mode due to the extreme conditions."
Burch reached the summits of 23 previously unclimbed high-altitude peaks, breaking the former record of 4 ascents by a Mongolian climber. Burch endured vertical gains totaling over 80,000ft, temperatures below -35°F, hypothermia, frostbite, avalanches, crevasses, falling through ice rivers, blinding wind, and snowstorms.
Burch used local Mongolians for logistical support, including camel herders to establish three base camps within the highest mountain region in Mongolia. "I congratulate and certify Sean breaking the record by an amazing 19 peaks," stated Gana Olanbayar, Park Ranger, Sagan Gol, Altai Tayan Bogd National Park.
The Mongolian government's National Park Service and Mongolia National Mountaineering Federation have officially recognized Burch's world record. "We confirm Sean's record of 23 peaks," said J. Bayanantsagaan, General Secretary, MNMF.
Burch worked in partnership with the No Kid Hungry Program- USA, in an effort to raise awareness, educate, and stop child hunger in America. "We're excited to have your support, and thank you for sharing your voice to help make No Kid Hungry a reality," posted Team NKH on Twitter. "The primary reason I climbed during November was for people during the Thanksgiving holiday to think of the one in five children in America who struggle with hunger daily. We need to take care of America's children, and the No Kid Hungry program is a terrific way to assist in doing that," Burch said.
Burch, winner of National Geographic Channel's Ultimate Survival Alaska television show, has previous world records on Kilimanjaro, Everest, the North Pole, and others. He was awarded Goodwill Ambassador to Nepal by their government for aid work in their country. He is currently developing a TV show, is a mental fortitude speaker, and is author of the highly acclaimed self-help and fitness book, Hyperfitness: 12 Weeks to Conquering Your Inner Everest (Penguin Group USA).
Expedition photos and video are available. Burch's partnering sponsors for this event include Iridium, Roanoke College, IceBug USA, Amazing Grass, PAI, and RBH Designs.
Real street food: Mongolian Khuushuur
December 16 (The Guardian) This tasty, simple and filling handheld beef or mutton pastry has its origins in the dumplings of neighbouring China, says Drinking Coffee Elsewhere: Mongolia's Millicent Bogert
What is the dish?
Khuushuur – Mongolia's version of a handheld meat pastry. It's a circle of wheat flour dough folded in half around a filling of minced or ground mutton, sometimes beef, and pan- or deep-fried. The meat is seasoned with onion and salt; some cooks add garlic and pepper as well. It's possible to get versions with a mix of potatoes, carrots and/or cabbage as well, but these are far less popular. (Vegetarians beware: the veg versions can taste strongly of mutton from the cooking oil.)
What's the history?
There's some reluctance here to acknowledge good things that have come from China, but Mongolians traditionally were nomads, not farmers, and did not grow wheat. Khuushuur and its dumpling siblings, buuz and bansh, are localised versions of Chinese dumplings.
What does it taste like?
Just like meat in fried dough! Seriously, it doesn't vary much: better-quality meat or lower-quality cooking oil make some difference, but it's a simple, straightforward dish. For westerners, there is sometimes more fat included with the meat than we're used to.
How is it served?
At its most basic, khuushuur comes on a plate with paper napkins or tissues to pick it up. In a restaurant it comes four to an order with a lettuce leaf and gherkins on the side, carrot salad if the place is a bit more posh.
Some people eat khuushuur with ketchup or Maggi sauce, less often with mayonnaise.
Why should someone try it?
It's tasty, cheap, filling and very Mongolian. Khuushuur are also strongly associated with the summer festival, Naadam, and it would be very sad to come all the way to Mongolia without trying such a typical dish.
What's the bill?
Khuushuur cost between 800 and 1500 tugrik (30-50p) each, though many restaurants won't let you order by the piece; they will give you four.
Where can you get it?
Anywhere in Mongolia that sells Mongolian food. In a central business district this means restaurants; outside of town people sell khuushuur from little stands or their gers (Mongolian tents) as well.
Can you make it at home?
Yes, every home cook knows how to make khuushuur, and patting the dough into circles is considered restful after a busy day. Home cooks chop the meat themselves for better flavor, buying pre-ground meat is considered inferior.
What does this dish say about Mongolia?
Mongolians love their meat, and khuushuur are simple, hearty and practical.
Homemade khuushuur recipe
New Radio Stations Advance Gospel in Former Communist Country Once Nearly Void of Religious Influence
Reach Beyond and Radio Partners Playing Key Role in Mongolia's Growing Christian Population
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., Dec. 16, 2014 /Christian Newswire/ -- When Jesus told His disciples they would be His witnesses in every part of the world — including the far-flung places — He most assuredly had Mongolia in mind. That remote country hungry for the gospel is also where Reach Beyond (www.reachbeyond.org) and its radio partners recently planted two new radio stations, fueling one of the fastest growing churches on the planet.
Photo: Reach Beyond and its partners are planting new radio stations in the vast and desolate reaches of Mongolia, the former Communist country where tens of thousands of people are hearing about Christ for the first time.
Just more than two decades ago, when Mongolia was moving from communism to a democratic form of government, there were only an estimated four Christians in the entire nation of three million people. By 2010, more than 40,000 Christians were gathered in 600 churches across the country, which is roughly the size of Alaska. Today, Mongolia has the eighth fastest growing church in the world.
The two new FM radio stations are a partnership between Reach Beyond, FEBC-Mongolia and local churches. Each station is on the air 24 hours a day and rebroadcasts programming from the original Christian FM station, which was launched by FEBC in 2001 with assistance from Reach Beyond engineers.
The programming on the stations is mostly aimed at non-Christians. The stations include popular secular music, talk radio and call-in shows, which are apologetic in nature. In addition, programming includes developmental and educational content, and listeners are given the opportunity to meet in home groups where they study the content in greater depth.
"It's amazing to see how radio is bringing thousands to Christ in this vast region," said Wayne Pederson, president and CEO of Reach Beyond. "Barely more than two decades ago, there were only a handful of professed believers in Mongolia. Today, through radio and other influences, there are tens of thousands of believers. And hopefully through these radio partnerships, thousands more will hear about the love of Jesus."
The partnership developed through a series of meetings with Asia by Media (formerly Asia by Radio) in early 2014.
"I asked our partner to share his vision for FEBC-Mongolia," said Ty Stakes, Reach Beyond's Asia Pacific executive director. "It was an extremely exciting conversation. His vision and strategy ideas fit so clearly with ours. I knew it was more than a random meeting. In a very short time, we were discussing how we could join with them to help them fulfill their radio-planting vision for Mongolia."
Mongolia has 21 provinces divided into more than 300 districts. Reach Beyond and its partners hope to expand their efforts to every provincial capital city in the country. With its nearly treeless terrain, Mongolia is ideal for sending FM signals long distances, thus increasing the impact of even a single new radio station.
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