THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT OF MONGOLIA, PRESS AND MEDIA DEPARTMENT

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2017-10-02




ADDRESS OF PRESIDENT OF MONGOLIA KHALTMAAGIIN BATTULGA TO OPENING OF AUTUMN SESSION OF STATE GREAT KHURAL



Dear Speaker of Parliament,
Members of the State Great Khural and
Distinguished guests,


Commencement of this autumn session coincides with the significant period for us to settle a large number of pressing issues, to be our most hardworking selves and be right in time. Therefore, I would like to skip the grand forewords and various explanations and directly start addressing the main problems.

Members of parliament,

The foremost priority is the formation of cabinet, and immediate commencement of its actions. As the President of Mongolia, I am full of aspirations to collaborate with new cabinet in order make tangible steps towards inpoliticized actions.

Although estimation has been made by the end of the first half of 2017 that the economy is expected to grow by 5.3 percent, overall economic and financial outlook is unsatisfying. Demand by teachers and doctors for pay raise is a clear manifestation of failure of economic growth induced solely by coal price. There are many remaining financial problems such as the repayment of foreign debts due next year. Even though the cooperation with IMF might be helpful for the time being, we have to review if we are reflecting enough decisions that are favorable for the national interests and in harmony with the unique national setting. The one mistake the Mongolian politicians have been repeating over the years is chasing foreign assistance and help and blindly following every recommendation they make. For instance, the requirement set out by IMF on invalidating livestock as deposit is a representation of how they failed to consider that this is Mongolia, where livestock has remained the main asset in ownership of nomadic Mongolians. So, if livestock cannot act as deposit, what else would replace it? Children’s benefit is being mistaken as welfare. However, its purpose is something else for Mongolia. As a country with small population, a consistent policy to increase its population must be a dire center of focus regardless of which party dominates the cabinet. What I mean to say is that You should reconsider our agreement with IMF in a manner in which you cherish national interests.

Passing the next year’s budget in a very substantial and down-to-earth manner is the timely demand for us in order to give out positive signal to the economy. What I understand as the Government budget giving out positive signal to the economy is that the government budget should shed a light on private sector. Full implementation and pursuance of the positive changes made to the Law on Procurement of Goods and Services on State and Local Budgets will be largish support for the private sector.

The Law has been passed on promoting national production in 2015. However, implementation of the “Law on Promoting Productions” providing that prioritizing purchase of national goods and services is compulsory for state-owned companies and factories has been left out.

If we can enforce the implementation of Law on the Procurement of Goods and Services on State and Local Budgets, MNT 105 billion, cost of children’s lunch would go to national food producers and trigger increase in the number of workplaces and pay raise. Certain accountability measures should be taken on officials who are responsible for the respective company’s procurement if the state-owned company fails to provide supply of military and other uniforms, boots and other products that are already produced in Mongolia, and instead, buys imported goods. Each year, cadres of military and law enforcement organizations wear about 50 thousand pairs of boots, miners, 20 thousand, and construction workers, more than 40 thousand pairs of boots. If these authorities will supply boots from national production, the cash flow will directly go to national shoe factories, and indirectly to leather processing shops and livestock herders. Livestock herders will be relieved from dissatisfaction due to undervalued animal hides. Today, in our country, three pieces of sheep hides costs a cup of instant noodles.

Mongolia is exporting approximately 10 million pieces of hides each year. The hides are our resource on which we could base a commissioning of processing factory.

State bodies should support vegetable production by all possible means, as well. It should become natural for state-owned companies to purchase nationally-produced food products for their employee dining rooms. This way, we can viably promote food production and clustering. Nice words about how important it is to support the national food production is nothing more than a whistle. A little hope is inside of all of us that the new cabinet will focus on reducing the risk of prioritizing mining for the economy, creating multi-pillared economy and increasing agricultural exports. It is delightful that the people have been realizing that we should collectively support all efforts for the above-mentioned objectives.

Everyone with a mouth has been talking about how dependent we are on mining. Absence of correction for the imbalance, caused by dominance of few wealthy families in distribution of natural resources due to the legalization of license to owning the ground reserves which are property of the Mongolian people according to laws, threatens the national unity. The Law on Mineral Resources creates a situation where foreigners and few powerful figures can get hold of the natural resources. We have to immediately put an end to this. Regardless of our hope in mining, which is deemed the most promising economic sector of Mongolia, the situation became worse than it had been before. This is the greatest proof which signals the failure of carrying on the mining businesses. It is hard to call a policy a correct one when it created debt of MNT 3.0 trillion for the people who had no apparent debt before the mining boom. Renewing our mining policies is the only approach to fixing this situation.


The state is required to implement specific policies toward gold mining, and put exceptional control, because gold is a special metal. Because of its ability to define the value of national currency, approaching to gold in a different way is a necessity. Government should enjoy privilege in gold mining and purchase. It is critical that Mongolians have been falling victim to their natural resources instead of benefiting from them. This is a policy enforced in the leading countries of the world. Government’s privilege is exercised in our two neighbors [Russia and China] when it comes to gold. Despite all pedantry, state of Mongolia should have full control over its gold reserve.

Starting from the next year’s budget, a principle should be applied to dedicate the financing of foreign loan only to projects with investment return. Areas that do not attract cash flow such as infrastructure and social institutions should be excluded from the list of project to be financed by international credits. Passing a law that regulates this is a necessity.

Demand from teachers and doctors for wage raise is not an unacceptable phenomenon, but is a well-deserved expression. There is a possibility to increase salary for officials who are paid from the Government Budget such as teachers and doctors if the provision of Section 1 of Article 6 of the Constitution is fully implemented and in case the Government exercises sustainable policies that enforce fair distribution of ground riches. Salaries can rise gradually, if not dramatically, and the opportunities can be provided to the above-mentioned officials to enjoy easy-term apartment loans.

The parliament and the cabinet should immediately correct their failure to fulfill the constitutional provision which points out “natural resources in Mongolia shall belong exclusively to the people” and free the people from pressure of debt through changing the resource management for better and more accessible for Mongolian citizens. Dividend from natural resource utilization must become a tool for citizens to pay their debts and increase their incomes. What is the advantage of having mineral riches and utilizing natural resources if, in the end, the citizens have more debt than they had before it? I hope the State Great Khural and new cabinet will collaborate on urgently correcting the mistakes of violating the provisions set out in Sections 6.1 and 6.2 of the Constitution of Mongolia.

A single example is showing us that a member of cabinet and parliament has exempted own tobacco factory for the next three years by using his political authority and saved MNT 60 billion, which could have sorted out the demand for pay raise for a large number of teachers.

I am hereby uncovering an evidence of serious violation of Article 4 of the Law on Tobacco Control – the State Policy on Tobacco.

The ousted cabinet has violated the provisions of the Tobacco Control Law and arranged to impose 5 percent tax for tobaccos imported by its member’s company, and imposed 30 percent tax for other tobacco importers. This is not justice. This is an apparent conflict of interests. Income from the taxes on tobacco import should be dedicated to wellness of the society.

It is a timely requirement for the upcoming cabinet to be formed free of such conflicts of interests.

We need to intercept a tradition of welcoming owners of mining businesses to hold political powers in the cabinet and other executive bodies. The dirty money coming from mining has become the most significant tool for defiling justice in politics, economy and all of the other social sectors. The largest corruption network is penetrating the highest authorities through mining businesses.

Injustice has embrowned the justice and law enforcement sectors. Justice institutions have become an instrument for influential politicians to hunt their rivals. Those justice institutions have been covering up major crimes against the nation, such as the case of trading off high-ranking public and political vacancies known to the public as the “case of 60 billion [MNT]” and the case of offshore properties of high-ranking public officials, which have already been uncovered. They tend to temporize settling these major crimes, and instead, prefer indulging minor cases of politicizing. I have no other choices than assuming that this is the proof that justice has been lost. It is the high time for the parliament and the upcoming new cabinet to sort out these notorious crimes.

The IPU Committee on Human Rights of Parliamentarians has issued a warning statement about the failure to exercise justice and questionable situation in Mongolia’s justice system in Geneva on September 14 after getting acquainted with the process of the case of S.Zorig’s murder. The Inter-Parliamentary Union’s delegation who worked in Mongolia between 11th and 13th of September, 2017, to assess the case of assassination of Sanjaasurengiin Zorig, a renowned politician, and expressed their dire concern and hesitation for Mongolian justice system for it had, reportedly, managed to violate a number of international standards of fair trial.

On this day, the death anniversary of the First Leader of Mongolian Democratic Union, parliamentarian and outstanding political figure S.Zorig, I trust the members of today’s State Great Khural will re-consider that the IPU’s conclusion might be an authentication of injustice and political putrefaction in Mongolia.

As the President of Mongolia, from this podium, I hereby declare that I will be attaching special importance to combating over-policitizing and restoring fairness in justice system of Mongolia. I was elected to mobilize social control and I will be doing this with all my heart.

Dear members of parliament and Mongolians,

The harsh season and the financial decline are coming with an ultimatum which we can overcome only by mutual understanding and collaboration. Politicization must be thrown away, and invincible efforts for the sake of the public interests must be put in these times of hardship. I call upon You to realize the problems before us and fight with united forces while maintaining concordance.

May the eternal heaven shine upon us!