REMARKS BY H.E. MR. ENKHBOLD MIYEGOMBO,
CHAIRMAN OF THE STATE GREAT HURAL, AT THE CLOSING OF THE 2017 FALL SESSION OF THE STATE GREAT HURAL (PARLIAMENT) OF MONGOLIA
February 09, 2017 Ulaanbaatar
Honorable members of the State Great Hural,
Members of the Government,
The 2017 fall session of the State Great Hural was convened for 93 working days and successfully solved its planned issues.
The State Great Hural have had its plenary session convened 39, the Standing committees and sub-committees meetings 132 times, discussed and passed independent 18, amending 95, altogether 125 laws and 54 resolutions.
It has also adopted the Law on 2018 state budget adhering the principles to rationally define the economic growth, increase the budget revenues and decrease its expenditures.
The economic growth is forecasted at 4.2 percent, budget revenue MNT 7.2 trillion and the total expenditures MNT 1.4 trillion.
In comparison with 2016, the economy grew by 3.0 and the budget revenue by MNT 1.4 trillion.
The fiscal deficit is projected to be MNT 2.4 trillion, a decrease of MNT 1.2 trillion, which is a fall of 34 percent compared with 2 years ago.
The resources for building of 32 new schools, 87 new kindergartens, and for extending of 29 schools and 15 kindergartens were allocated in the 2018 budget, thus the parliament has ensured the opportunity to stem the state of elementary schools to study in 3 shifts and of kindergartens to recruit children by lottery.
According to the program “Mothers with salary”, the parliament has adopted the Law on issuing a monthly welfare of MNT 50 thousand for 135 thousands of mothers taking care of children under the age of 3 and a quarterly welfare of MNT 240 thousand for 16.5 thousands of single mothers and fathers having 3 or more children.
In 2018, MNT 44.6 billion are allocated for pensions of 13.5 thousands of cattle-breeders to be retired as a result of the reducing their retirement age, MNT 137.4 billion for an increase of all kinds of pensions and allowances, thus 393 thousands of retired people will receive the increased pensions.
The state responsibility is to in all way support the Small and Medium-sized Enterprises /SMEs/ which provide 64 percent of all employment.
Consequently, the amount of the concessional loan to be issued through SMEs Development Fund is estimated to reach MNT 99.2 billion, which is an increase of MNT 62.0 billion.
Dear members of the parliament,
The issue of reduction of air pollution and environmental contamination of Ulaanbaatar gravely threatening the health and safety of the residents was the center of the urgent attention in the parliament.
A Working group formed by my ordinance issued just before this New Year with the function to review and monitor the implementation of all resolutions and decisions being passed towards air pollution and, in the case of necessity, to develop bill or other decisions of parliament and make a conclusion, has already commenced its activities.
Likewise, the President of Mongolia has sent a letter to investigate the method of combating air pollution through declaring the state of emergency in Mongolia. The request was forwarded to the Working group for investigation.
The resolution titled “Air Pollution Reduction Measures” which reflected the proposals of the President and of the parliament members has been discussed and adopted by the session of the parliament.
The parliament has, in immediate procedure, discussed the issues related to establishing a fund against air pollution, committing the Governors of aimags /provinces/ to take measures against air pollution at their own territories and set up the unit to report the implementation, exempting from VAT and custom tax for the air purifier and energy savings heating devices and adopted the related laws.
According to the parliament resolution, the government was committed to reporting on the implementation of the National Security Council recommendation N3, resolution N1 of 2016, N1 of 2017 of the Sub-committee on air pollution reduction within February 1, 2018.
I want to remind the related authorities that the deadline has already passed.
In addition, the demands of people to finalize the calculation of the amount of money spent and the measures taken for reduction of the air pollution, results achieved and amount wasted, sacked and to hold guilty authorities accountable must be fulfilled.
The Working group formed by the ordinance of the Chairman of the State Great Hural, the Standing committees on Environment, Food, and Agriculture, Standing Committee on Social Policy, Education, Culture and Science are working in the districts of Ulaanbaatar city and, consequently, the proposals of optimal solution and measures would be formulated.
The budget allocates 16.9 billion MNT for reduction of air pollution, which is an increase of 13.0 billion MNT compared to the previous year.
It is important for related authorities to spend this capital for financing the measures such as discounting electricity night tariff, renewing the power line and expanding its capacity, introducing the electric heaters.
In 2018 budget, 10.0 billion MNT was allocated for commencing the project on Renovation of Central Waste Water Treatment Plant. The total amount of 35 billion MNT must be spent and the work must be completed by 2020.
In Ulaanbaatar, the Construction work of Waste classification center with the budget of 10.1 billion MNT will start this year. The required 1.0 billion MNT was set in the budget.
The air and environmental pollution has become not only the problem of Ulaanbaatar but also of residential areas such as the center of aimags.
The leaders of the government, aimags and other local administration units must take a certain plan and actions from now on towards facing problems including soil and water contamination before the issues become more complicated.
It is necessary to carry out in the provinces phased measures such as reducing the consumption of raw coal, supporting usage of liquefied gas, energy-saving heating devises.
The parliament has reviewed the activities mistakenly conducted by the leader of the Bank of Mongolia during 2012-2016 and the difficulties raised as their consequence and affected in the economic and financial sector, and it adopted the law on improving the legal environment of the Bank of Mongolia and banking sector, as well as preventing from risks.
These laws are aimed at preventing from rioting, causing loss of independence of the Bank of Mongolia, creating unfair economic and commercial advantages to the individuals, legal entities, banks; protecting macro-economy from risks, stemming violation of the interests of customers and owners of savings and their loss of capital, holding capital of taxpayers accountable for the banks.
I think that the remarkable steps of reforms towards creating the efficient mechanism to ensure the continuity of the state policy and activities, professionalism and sustainability of the civil service, accustoming in it the principle of capability approach, strengthening the system of assessment of the work performed and of ethics and responsibility of civil servants could have been taken during this fall session.
Adoption of the revision of the Law on the state service entering into force from 2019 will stop the dismission and switch of civil servants happening after each election and limit the appointment of inexperienced people to the responsible positions, the approach to civil service with political judgment and misappropriation.
The requirements and criterion will be put for entering the civil service first time, and being appointed to the position belonging to the classification of senior officers. For example, according to the law a person to be appointed for the position of the State secretary must have worked in the civil service not less than 16 years, and for the position of the director of the department of the ministry or equivalent to this position not less than 8 years.
Beginning in 2020, the civil administration servants would be paid for extra hours worked and the civil service servants same as administration servants would be issued the allowance equal to monthly payment up to 36 months.
Taking into account the possible occurrences of the loss of harvest and the severe winter conditions for livestock breeding due to the drought in the majority of the area last summer, MNT 49.9 billion was added in the 2017 budget amendment for the hay preparation, state reserve accumulation and forage import.
In order to keep forage and hay at low prices and to keep the price of wheat and flour stable, the decision to exempt the import of forage and hay, food wheat up to 225.0 thousand tons and seed wheat up to 10.0 thousand tons from custom tax and VAT was made.
The decision to continue the exemption of imported energy from custom tax and VAT until 2021 was made to create favorable conditions for providing the Western region with reliable and nonstop electricity.
The fall session approved the Law on Animal Health and the Law on Animal Genetic Resources, which became an important step for complying the system of veterinary services with international standards, strengthening the system to prevent animals from infectious diseases, exporting the livestock products to the foreign market in the mid-term and also for increasing the income from selling the raw materials and products, and improving herders’ livelihoods.
During the session, 70 members where the figures are overlapping have worked in nine working groups established by the Ordinance of the Speaker of the State Great Hural and the Resolutions of Standing Committees. Their duty was to be introduced with the implementation of legislation and review them.
Members of the Parliament met visited 28 institutions such as the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare, the State Philharmonic, the National Central Library, the Central Agency of Labor and Welfare Service, and the Labor and Social Welfare Department of Nalaikh district.
During the session, 25 parliamentarians where the figures are overlapping had 18 official inquiries on 93 issues to the organizations reporting directly to the State Great Hural, and 8 inquiries of 15 parliamentarians have been responded.
The foreign relations and cooperation of the Parliament have deepened and expanded. The President of the House of Representatives of Japan T.Oshima has paid an official visit to Mongolia and me as a chairman had an official visit to Vietnam.
The visit of the President of Japanese House of Representatives was unique because it was the first-ever one.
The participation in the 137th IPU Assembly held in Saint Petersburg, Russia, 26th Annual Meeting of the APPF held in Hanoi at the level of the speaker and vice speaker was significant in promoting the policy and actions of Mongolia to the world, reporting our commitments made to tackle global challenges in line with strengthening our positions at the regional and international level.
In conclusion, this parliament is encompassing its functions properly according to the law.
However, recently some political forces and even the head of the state came up with talks about the dissemination of the Parliament.
There is no doubt to consider this as an action that makes the choice of the Mongolian people devalued, violates the rights of the members of the legislative institution defended by the Constitution, and also weakens the importance of parliamentary governance, and its execution of duties and activities.
The economic growth has been steadily declining since 2013 and in the third quarter of 2016 when we came to the power it edged down to -1.6 percent, with revenue fell by 2.3-10.4 percent, and a fiscal deficit of 3.6 trillion dollars.
In June 2012, the total government debt was MNT 4.5 trillion but in June 2016 it reached 16.6 trillion. In 2016, the previous Government handed us the cabinet where net foreign loan was 2.6 trillion MNT, bonds equal to 2.6 trillion MNT were sold domestically and bonds equal to 4.3 trillion MNT abroad, 2.0 trillion MNT debt guarantee was issued, concession agreements of 437.9 billion MNT were concluded, with the charge of paying promissory note loan of 595.2 billion MNT.
In addition, the bonds equal to a total of $ 661.2 million including a 3-year term "Dim Sum" at an interest rate of 10.8 percent and a seven-year term "Mazaalai", and 3 months to 3-year domestic bonds with an interest rate of 11-18 percent have been released and government also guaranteed debt of $ 1.3 billion with interest rates of 2.5-9.0 percent.
It should not be forgotten that the nation's economy has become an extremely difficult situation, and the amount of debt outstanding exceeded its economic and financial capacity and that the 580 million USD Euro bonds debts have not been able to be paid back and that the country was in a state of insolvency.
Even though the government headed by Ch.Saikhanbileg, with the purpose to join IMF program, sent an official letter requesting a representative of the working group to visit Mongolia in January 2015, it has failed. It meant that the country's reputation was in such a bad level.
However, as soon as the parliament began to execute its mandate, it has in a short time taken the necessary measures in the areas of consolidating four budgets, improving key indicators, establishing sustainable revenue sources, tightening fiscal discipline and accountability and increasing the expenditure efficiency. The government has in a short-term successfully negotiated with the IMF and, is currently implementing "Extended Funding Program".
Since the date when the government was taken over, the policies of not signing the concession agreements of BT form, fully stopping the bill of exchange, of abandoning domestic and foreign bonds with high-interest rates are being firmly adhered.
As a result, the economy has grown and revived despite the fact that the benefits to households and citizens have not yet been achieved.
The preliminary performance of 2017 forecasts the economic growth to be around 4.9 percent, and compared to 2016, the budget revenue would increase by 24.1 percent or 1.4 trillion MNT, and revenue expectation exceeds by 660.0 billion MNT.
Foreign trade turnover reached $ 10.5 billion, and balance had a profit of 1.9 billion USD, which is 19.7 percent higher than 2016. Foreign currency reserves reached $ 3.0 billion, which at the end of 2016 amounted $ 1.3 billion.
9 months ago, it was the time that there was no choice other than raising personal income tax and retirement age, but now we are able to pay back the collected tax and retain the retirement age to the previous level.
This is a complete expression of the real results we have achieved in a short time, and of our citizens’ understanding and support to the government and the government’s care of its citizens.
As a result of implementing the program in collaboration with IMF, we received from the foreign countries a long-term loan at the low interest rate and issued bonds which resulted in a reduction of debt.
In 2017, a 7-year bond worth 6oo million USD at an interest rate of 8.75% named "Khuraldai", 5.5-year bond worth 800 million USD at an interest rate of 5.6% "Gerege" have been issued.
Currently, 580 million USD of Development Bank, 500 million USD of “Chinggis” bond and 15.3 million USD of "Dim Sum" bond which are in a total amount 1.1 billion USD or 2.6 trillion MNT, have been paid back.
The fall session has approved the World Bank International Development Association's a 30-year loan agreement worth 120 million USD at annual interest rate of 1.25 percent with grace period of 5 years which will be used for supporting the implementation of the "Economic Recovery Program", and financing the improvement of fiscal sustainability and reduction of the deficit.
In addition, it was decided to partially receive from Government of Japan throughout three years a 20-year concessional loan worth 850 million USD at the annual interest rate of 0.8 percent with a 6 year grace period.
This policy loan will be used to provide macro-economy with stable control and to finance the budget of Mongolia.
We have made a decision to receive a 30-year concessional loan equal to 700 million USD with a grace period of 10 years at the annual interest rate of 0.2 percent from the Government of the Republic of Korea.
The 500 million USD of this loan will be used to reduce air and environment pollution in Ulaanbaatar.
It was decided to support the quality and access to education, develop regional roads and renewable energy, improve air quality in Ulaanbaatar city, support sustainable tourism, implement projects of housing matching payment ability and program of re-planning by accessing a 25 year concessional loan from the Asian Development Bank, which is equal to 468 million USD at the annual interest rate of 2.0 percent with a 5 year grace period.
The international financial institutions, investors, and foreign countries have recognized that the country's economy and financial condition are improving and Mongolia's credit rating has increased for the first time in the past few years.
Although the initial offer of "Gerege" bond was to raise 800 million USD from the international financial market, the offer from foreign investors reached a 5.5 billion USD.
This offer was 7.3 times higher than the ‘’Mazaalai’’ bond, the one which was issued by previous authorities.
Mongolia has received "Asia’s best investment attractor" award from International financial information organization, and the "Khuraldai" bond issued in March 2017 won "Mongolia’s best deal in 2017" and the "Best Government Bond in 2017" award.
Thus, Mongolia's reputation in foreign markets has increased, and the investors’ confidence and interest in Mongolia are growing.
We must not leave the issue about the principles and ethics of the parliament members who represent the people out of the discussion.
All of us should never forget about the responsibilities we hold, and the reflection of the people who elected us. We hold no right to disappoint our voters and step outside our moral values.
Neither extravagance nor inconsiderate spending should be present at any stage. It serves no justice if the public servants enjoy luxury, while our people remain struggling.
We have to understand that the reputation of parliamentarians and state heads does not lie above all and not an inalterability as well.
I want to remind that although there are certain rights the parliament members enjoy, what they should focus more on is their duty.
We cannot pretend as if we haven’t heard the civil citizens agreeing on how some parliamentarians’ actions would be completely unacceptable in other countries, but Mongolia.
Reflecting and acting on one’s failed ethical behaviors start with self-initiative. Political parties should also pay close attention to building such ethical culture in politics.
Working on the quality of laws has become the foremost special duty for those in charge.
Cases where the submitted draft bills would not pass the discussion, or turn into almost a completely new set of a draft after continuous editing, or show faults and incompetency once become effective, or even get dismissed from the discussion for conflict with the Constitution court are still existing in the parliament practice.
Fourteen out of 27 review summaries made between 2008 and 2012 by the Constitutional Court, 26 out of 40 between 2012 and 2016, seven out of 13 between 2016 and 2018 have been proven to have breached the Constitution.
Although the number of review summaries of the Constitution was much fewer during our power compared to previous terms, we have to take it into consideration as the assessment of every parliament’s general performance.
It is our duty to meet with the citizens in between the parliament sessions, publicize the passed laws, decrees and policies and hear their comments on issues bound for discussion at the sessions.
The state should pursue sustainable, rightful, and consistent policies.
To fulfill this aim, the parliamentarians must listen to the citizens, reflect their suggestions in decisions, and make sure the people are provided with correct and realistic news about the works for implementing the decisions.
The government ought to produce and prepare for submitting the required legislative drafts that will play an inseparable role in the economy and social sectors, in accordance with the “General guideline on improving Mongolian legislations by 2020” passed on 12 Jan 2017 by the State Great Hural.
I’d like to remind once again that it is important to guarantee the sustainability of the positive outcome and change in the economy and carry out the work and activities bound to realistically contribute for better livelihood of the citizens and households.
Our people have elected us for solving the challenges both they and the country are facing.
Therefore, it is right to highlight that it is possible to convene irregular sessions of the parliament at any time, if there would be a timely demand and challenge, despite the break of the regular session.
I wish health, joy and all the best to the people of Mongolia.
May the Tsagaan Sar fill your famliy with peace and prosperity.