Regarding the appointments of members of the new Cabinet, Prime Minister L. Oyun-Erdene delivered a speech at the plenary session of the Parliament and introduced four goals of his Cabinet.
At the outset of his speech, Mr. Oyun-Erdene highlighted, “Thanks to the decisive measures of 31st Prime Minister U. Khurelsukh, the air pollution of Ulaanbaatar decreased by 50 percent, and the Government reclaimed lost mineral deposits. Moreover, he started the fight for justice and set a new ethical standard in Mongolian politics.”
“Maintaining the continuity of the Government’s policy, we will complete major projects that are inseparably connected to the country’s destiny, such as the oil refinery, railway projects, natural gas pipelines, the Tavan Tolgoi power plant, and the Erdeneburen hydropower plant.
Our Government is fully aware that it is facing a lot of challenges, including the pandemic, pandemic-related global economic crisis, the problems for businesses, entities and citizens, social unrest, and the politicization around the upcoming presidential election. Therefore, let me briefly introduce four goals of our Cabinet, which will contribute to our country’s future,” said the PM.
Objective 1. A plan to overcome the pandemic within a short time
Mongolia had prevented the spread of the COVID-19 among the community for ten months, but at last, we could not avoid this suffering. Our Government will develop a comprehensive plan to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic and take immediate actions.
Vaccinating the population is our priority. The Government will do its utmost to involve staff working in the frontline, risky groups, and the public in the WHO-approved vaccines in phases within the first 100 days of the Government.
Prompt vaccination will help to overcome the economic and social difficulties caused by the pandemic in a short period. The Government will include in its action plan a comprehensive package of measures as stimulation for the companies, employers, and small and medium-sized businesses that were most affected by the pandemic. We will intensify the repatriation of our citizens abroad based on the recommendation of professional organizations.
Objective 2. A plan to recover the economy
Despite the pandemic outbreak that has not occurred in 100 years, the global economy will likely have a rapid recovery after humankind overcomes the epidemic. Therefore, we must not retreat from our goals of reviving and growing our economy by being binded by our current mindset caused by the pandemic. We have to start preparing for the post-pandemic economy from now on. Even the issues of citizens’ income and employment cannot be fully resolved without economic growth.
“Supposing Mongolia as a family, we annually overspend an average of USD2 billion than we earn, and 93 percent of our family’s earnings come from non-renewable resources such as coal, gold, copper and iron ore.
To put it bluntly, if a scientific and technological solution is found to replace coal, we will not be able to pay salaries and pensions. Therefore, we must not waste any time. We would have no choice but to make bitter, difficult decisions in the economy. The economic structure, which is overly dependent on mining, needs to be changed when the mining sector is strong.
“Therefore, the main goal is to accelerate the development of science, technology and innovation. …The scientific academies and innovation institutes will be coordinated and organized into a unified cluster to commercialize scientific discoveries. The Government will support and partner with national companies that have started successfully competing in the global market for artificial intelligence, fintech and cloud technology during the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”
The National Sovereign Wealth Fund will be established to make mining revenues more profitable and distribute natural resources fairly and equitably. The Fund will have three directions of activity: accumulation, stabilization, and development. Funding for the sovereign wealth fund will come from mining royalty fees, and profits of the state-owned companies, and will be spent on promoting economic priorities and improving livelihoods.”
“The direct profit of the strategic mining deposits will be improved. We will work closely with the Parliament to significantly improve the Oyu Tolgoi agreements and create the conditions for Mongolia to be lucrative rather than be indebted in return for the use of our resources.
As the head of Government, I will prioritize the following sectors of the economy based on the ‘Vision-2050’ policy. It includes mining, processing industry, food and agriculture, energy, tourism, SMEs, transport and logistics, creative industry and information technology.”
The Prime Minister also explained in a few words why these sectors are pointed out.
“First of all, we need to make our natural resources become value-added. It is necessary to build plants capable of washing coal, smelting copper, refining oil, and processing iron ore. For example, a ton of coking coal at the Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi mine costs USD 63, but its value rises to USD 200 after being transported and washed at Gantsmod port.
Mongolia imports goods worth USD 6.1 billion annually, of which USD 1 billion is spent on oil products. If the oil refinery is commissioned, it will be possible to supply 70 percent and further 100 percent domestically.
To become an industrialized country, we need to solve our infrastructure problems. The construction of the Tavan Tolgoi–Gashuunsukhait and Tavan Tolgoi–Zuunbayan railways will be completed soon. It will save USD 600-900 million a year in transportation costs and increase the total exports by about 30 percent.
Road projects will be sorted by priority. In the first turn, projects connecting border ports and tourist routes will be implemented. It is vital for our landlocked country to develop the transportation and logistics sector as a whole.
Today, we import 25 percent of our energy that takes an average of USD 140 million a year. To reduce this outflow, it is necessary to complete Tavan Tolgoi and Erdeneburen hydropower projects urgently and start the construction work of the Power Plant V.
Every year, the country imports food products worth USD 605 million. Therefore, there is an urgent need to create an entirely new system of import-substituting, export-oriented agriculture and light industry. Also, it intends to build plants to process animal-related raw materials and basic transportation centers in stages.
Throughout the world, tourism would undoubtedly be the sector that will revive the fastest after the pandemic. We need to resolve some issues without delays, such as eliminating the irresponsibility, red tape, and obstacles foreign tourists face while visiting Mongolia, establishing an e-Embassy, issuing e-visas, and liberalizing air transportation.”
The PM also said that a creative economy based on the country’s history and rich cultural heritage would be developed. In this context, the management of the Ministry of Culture will be elevated to a new level, bringing culture, arts and cinematography to the global level and making it economically efficient.
Councils of economy, entrepreneurs and foreign investment promotion will be formed under the Prime Minister. Moreover, a Ministry of Economy and Development will be established, said the PM.
Objective 3. The new system to support the middle class
“The last 30 years gave us many values, such as human rights, freedom, press freedom, a multiparty parliamentary system, and the market economy. Despite all this, the gap between the rich and the poor increasingly grew, resulting in income inequality, the flourishing of the underground economy, and the loss of social justice. It is the harsh truth that 28.4 percent of the total population or about 1 in 3 people currently lead a below-average life. The inclusive growth of the economy should only be measured by positive changes in the quality of life. Yet, the government has not been able to bring such changes to the citizens’ quality of life.
The moving force of society– citizens with average income are currently in quite a bit of a predicament. In order to transition into a completely new system that supports average income citizens and create a society largely consisting of the wealthy middle class, the most important issue is apartments and urban development. In the coming three years, the Government will carry out a project on the construction of ‘Youth I, II, III’ complex apartments with a unified blueprint, resolving the new financing model for income-based apartments by transitioning into the system of a unified savings fund.”
“The second important factor in creating a society mainly consisting of the wealthy middle class is quality education. Although the intellectual capacity of Mongolian children ranks 7th in the world, Mongolia ranks 49th for the ability to utilize intellectual capacity, 59th for home-grown talent, and 111th for its know-how. Thus, special focus will be given to matters including comprehensive education in developing into a model Mongolian citizen, proficiency in the use of the Mongolian language and script, the quality of training in urban and rural areas, increasing the competitiveness of universities and colleges by merging them, and the preparation of world-class citizens. A scholarship named after the Prime Minister will be annually announced, and importance will be given to preparing the new generation that is necessary for Mongolia. The cabinet will present the Package Laws on Education Renewal before the spring session of the parliament.”
“Cases for cardiovascular diseases and cancer are common in Mongolia. Experts explain the causes for this being due to how citizens are not diagnosed early as well as their unhealthy lifestyles. Thus, we must quickly implement a system that annually involves all citizens in a comprehensive health checkup. In the coming four years, the construction for the National Organ Transplant Center, the National Cardiovascular Center, the Burn Center, and the National Cancer Center will take place. With its completion, it becomes possible to reduce the annual amount of costs being spent on receiving medical treatment abroad–USD 100-120 million by 30- 40 percent. We need a new culture that promotes a healthy, active lifestyle. We need an education system that helps children acquire a proper understanding of the immune system and nutrition comprehensively from a young age.
The time has come for us to correct our unhealthy mindset and create a national culture that fights against obesity. Furthermore, several crucial issues such as the transition from welfare to labor, increasing the participation of women in the labor market, and creating a specialized bank and financing system will be resolved in phases to create a national system to support citizens in the middle class.”
Objective 4. Justice and online governance
“Today, our country ranks 111th for its corruption perception. It is apparent that the underlying factor causing this is bureaucracy and the political system filled with corruption. Thus, the work to create a fair justice system where no one is persecuted or wrongfully convicted will be comprehensively supported. Those that wish to indirectly control the state will be faced head-on.
Henceforth, we will aim to reform the corresponding legislation to create the classical parliamentary system in Mongolia by carefully discussing the matter with political parties. By developing laws on the protection of whistleblowers, the financing of political parties, and civil service ethics will be as according to international legal standards and making amendments to the Law on Anti-Corruption, the appropriate legal environment will be created to monitor whether state servants have expenses above their income as well as whether they are incorrectly declaring their assets and income.”
“The work to create a “digital” nation will be actively carried out. All forms of public services will be made available through the E-Mongolia electronic platform. In order to have this transition conducted up till 90 percent in 2021-2024, a specialized ministry will be established on digital development. This will not create any more job opportunities—rather, it is the only solution to reducing the overlap of staff at all levels, reducing the numbers by 30-40 percent. Electronic signatures will be introduced, and the privacy of personal information will be ensured through law. As a result, bureaucracy will be reduced, and less time will be necessary in acquiring the services.”
“In order to create good governance, the Government will closely cooperate with the “Fourth Estate”–the press and media. Works will be carried out in respect to the citizens’ right to be informed, upholding the freedom of press. Factual information will be given regarding major issues that bring out debate and uncertainty in the public, supporting a more research-based approach to matters and open, transparent cooperation.”
“We will openly and actively cooperate with our eternal two neighbors as well as other countries of the world in all sectors. In today’s world of globalization, the national mindset, way of living, and unique features will be valued, protecting our national identity and organizing pro- motional works about Mongolia to the world on the large scale. I also believe that an institute for national policy should be established consisting of all previous Prime Ministers. Our cabinet will continue to implement appropriate, applicable policies that were implemented by all previous governments.”
“Citizens are the foundation of the state. It is the duty of a democratic government to protect civil rights. By having it as a requirement for state servants at all levels to be knowledgeable about civil rights, special emphasis will be placed on their sense of duty to serve citizens and protect their rights. A culture to be ethical, humane, disciplined, and assessed based on performance as well as being held accountable for one’s actions at each level will be introduced in civil service.”
“I perceive my appointment as the Prime Minister of Mongolia being in the first year of the implementation of ‘Vision-2050’ long-term development policy, which also happens to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the People’s Revolution, and the 30th anniversary of the Democratic Revolution, as a historically significant responsibility.
Just like how our ancestors were able to change the world’s history in 30 years, may our country lead in the region for its social development, economic growth, and quality of life in the coming 30 years,” noted PM Oyun-Erdene.
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