Archive for May, 2010

Ulaanbaatar Air Pollution Level Increased by 28 Percent

By , 31 May, 2010, No Comment

ULAANBAATAR – According to a working group, air pollution level of Mongolia’s capital city has increased by 28% despite efforts.

A working group led by MP D.Terbishdagva has found during its evaluation of the impact of programs aimed at reducing air pollution that only MNT8.2 billion was spent on them last year, despite a Parliamentary resolution in 2007 allocating MNT50 billion annually from the State budget. It also found that the pollution level, far from going down, has actually increased by 28%. The group has recommended more coordination among the organizations responsible for the work and has also called for more accountability.

Source: Unuudur; highlighted in the BCM Newswire by Business Council of Mongolia

Survey Says Unemployment, Standard of Living, & Inflation the Major Problems

By , 30 May, 2010, No Comment

The majority of respondents in a survey carried out by Sant Maral Foundation in April said unemployment is the main problem in Mongolia today.

While 38.6 percent held this view, 21.1 percent said the standard of living is the main problem, while 8 percent believe inflation is the key issue. The representative sample of 1,200 respondents from Ulaanbaatar and from Dornogobi, Dundgobi, Zavkhan, Khentii and Arkhangai aimags was collected from April 16 to April 23. The survey is sponsored by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation of Germany.

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MP’s Continue to be Stuck on Railway Decision

By , 26 May, 2010, No Comment

No agreement on the railway transportation policy is in sight. No decision can be taken on this very important part of the wider minerals policy as MPs continue to be stuck on both the direction of the new network and on the width of the track. Some MPs give their view.

S.Oyun: I think it would be wrong to have the same width everywhere. A combination would be a better option, depending on where the track is leading. Companies who are investing ought to estimate their needs. I would give more importance to economic factors than to political considerations when deciding on the railway policy. Similarly, the final choice of the route, whether it goes south or north or both ways will depend on the amount needed and the transportation benefits.

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US Embassy Seeks Mongolian Applicants for Humphrey Fellowships and Fulbright TA Program

By , 24 May, 2010, No Comment

US Embassy seeks Mongolian applicants for Humphrey Fellowships and Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant Program for 2010-2012; application deadline is July 19.

The US Embassy in UB invites any interested Mongolian citizen living in Mongolia to apply for two available grant programs that provide up to one year study and professional experience in the US. The Hubert Humphrey Fellowship is a one-year, non-degree professional exchange program that brings mid-career professionals to the US. For further information, including application and eligibility requirements, go to http://mongolia.usembassy.gov/sholarship_announcements/test.html

The Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant Program (FLTA) for 2011-2012 brings Mongolian teachers of English, and other foreign English teachers, to the US for the 2011-12 academic years to strengthen foreign language instruction at US colleges and universities while providing foreign teachers of English with the opportunity to refine their skills, increase their English language proficiency and expand their knowledge of American culture and customs .The grant is for one academic year and is non-renewable.  For further information, including application and eligibility requirements, go to http://mongolia.usembassy.gov/flta_announcement.html

Application deadline for both programs is 12 noon on July 19, 2010. Both programs are administered by the Public Affairs Section of the US Embassy,  Big Ring Road, XI  Microdistrict, Ulaanbaatar, UB – 13, P/O Box 1021, Telephone: 312372 or 329095 ext 4424 or 4729.

Source: NAMBC Newsletter May 11, 2010.  Visit NAMBC website here: North America Mongolia Business Council.

Mongolia’s 2010 State Budget and Talks of Revision Amid Inflation Concerns

By , 23 May, 2010, No Comment

Sensitive financial issues were discussed at a “secret” meeting on Monday attended by members of the Standing Committee on the Economy, and representatives of the International Monetary Fund, the MongolBank, and the National Statistics Office. They talked mainly about the budget deficit and the threat of inflation.

The Finance Ministry has proposed revisions to the 2010 budget following the increase in the price of copper and gold. If this has meant MNT 364.2 billion in extra revenue, the decision to increase the salary of civil servants by 30 percent, and reinstatement of the child allowance will lead to more expenses. Some new public projects have also been proposed. Taken together, these will take the budget deficit beyond the proposed 5% of GDP as stipulated by the IMF.

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New Prosecutor General Offers “No Mercy to Corrupt Prosecutors”

By , 21 May, 2010, No Comment

Parliament last Friday approved the appointment of Mr. D. Dorligjav as the country’s Prosecutor General, with 92 percent of MPs accepting his nomination by the President.

Talking to reporters after the Parliament vote, Mr. Dorligjav said his priority will be to ensure that prosecutors at all times abided by the law. “Their main responsibility is to ensure that people’s legitimate expectations are met, and they must never lose sight of the fact that their power stems from the legal principles that they are expected to uphold,” he said.

People who have been sincere and conscientious will certainly not be disturbed. “Indeed, I shall offer them all assistance to be more effective. But I have already told Parliament I shall not retain those with problems of ethics and shall show no mercy to those who abuse their power and bring disrepute to the judiciary,” he told media. He clarified it would be wrong to blame prosecutors alone for all the problems in the judicial sector.

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Mongolia Mining Policy Report Card – Mongolia Ranked Near Congo (DRC), Zimbabwe, and Venezuela

By , 13 May, 2010, No Comment

Few days ago, we posted an article on Fraser Institute’s Mining Survey as obtained from the NAMBC newsletter:  Mongolia Drops in Annual Fraser Institute Mining Survey.  In this post, we will attempt to break down what it exactly means.

Mongolia Mongolia’s ranking dropped in the Fraser Institute’s Mining Survey – what exactly does it mean?

The “drop in Mongolia’s ranking” was in the “Policy potential index”, which aims to be “a ‘report card’ to governments on the attractiveness of their mining policies”.  Please see image below.

Fraser Institute Mining Policy Potential 2009/2010 showing Mongolia ranked near bottom

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MP’s Urge Prime Minister to Curb Corruption

By , 10 May, 2010, No Comment

In an open letter to Prime Minister S. Batbold, two Democratic Party MPs, Hero of Mongolia E. Bat-Uul and Mr. Ya. Batsuuri, have lamented the unchecked growth of corruption, bribery, and bureaucracy in government organizations, greatly hindering economic progress and the development of a democratic ethos. If no corrective action is taken, the trend will eventually disgrace the nation on the international stage, they feel.

Political parties and leaders talk a lot about action against corruption during elections, but allow it to thrive when they are in a position to take remedial action. Hidden business deals involving high officials, their fingers in the pie in any major budgetary investments, and misuse and abuse of the funds of state owned businesses have got out of control and reached proportions that endanger national security. Citizens wait in vain for signs of official action, but there is no change in the authorities’ apathy.

Reminding Mr. Batbold that in a democracy people’s feelings cannot continue to be ignored, the two MPs have urged the Government to come out with a comprehensive statement on its stand on the matter. As a first step, they have said, companies and organizations like Erdenet Copper, Ulaanbaatar Railway, MIAT, and the Civil Aviation Authority of Mongolia should immediately have their accounts audited by firms with international exposure.

Source: Udriin Sonin; highlighted in the BCM Newswire by Business Council of Mongolia

Mongolia Drops in Annual Fraser Institute Mining Survey

By , 9 May, 2010, No Comment

Mongolia has dropped from 55th place to 67th place out of 72 jurisdictions in the annual Survey of Mining Companies 2009/2010, released on April 15 by the Fraser Institute, one of Canada’s leading public policy think-tanks.

This is Mongolia’s lowest ranking since 2006.  Mining industry executives rate Quebec as the world’s most attractive jurisdiction for mineral exploration and development for the third straight year

In the “policy potential index,” Mongolia was in the bottom 10 of 72 jurisdictions rated. Countries rated lower than Mongolia were the Congo (DRC), Zimbabwe, the Philippines, Ecuador and Venezuela.  In 2008/2009, Mongolia ranked 55th out of 71, in 2007, 61st of 68, and in 2006-2007, 62nd of 65.  California was also in the bottom 10 this year, ranked below Indonesia.

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