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Mongolia and Russia talk ahead of SCO Summit

​President addresses the Mongolia-Russia Initiative 2018 launch​

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http://zgm.mn/post/594/

Within the frames of “Mongolia-Russia Initiative-2018” a series of events were held yesterday, including a bilateral economic forum. The event was promised during Mongolian President Battulga Khaltmaa’s meeting with the Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier this year. Opening the forum, President Battulga Khaltmaa remarked, “For Mongolia, consistent development of the traditional friendly relations and cooperation with Russia is a foreign policy priority, and the enrichment of bilateral relations with economic content is a main objective at this stage. Mongolia is committed to maintaining balance in foreign trade and investment and deepening cooperation with its neighbors in all areas. Mongolia wishes to develop and broaden active bilateral and trilateral cooperation with Russia. As far as bilateral cooperation is concerned, we should realize one or two projects that are as big as the ‘Ulaanbaatar Railway’ in the initial stage. Mongolia has an opportunity to establish meat and leather-processing factories with the help of Russian investment and technology and manufacture export products meeting the standards of Russia and the Eurasian Economic Union. To reach this goal, we should make full use of the favorable terms offered within the Altanbulag Free Trade Zone. Mongolia forwarded a proposal to establish a free trade agreement with the Eurasian Economic Union to become part of the regional economic and trade integration and simplify the investment conditions. While appreciating Russia’s support of our proposal, I am confident that the other member states will favor the proposal, paving the way for the launch of negotiations. Since the implementation of the free trade agreement will take time, it is necessary to intensify certain actions such as organizing an expo of Mongolian-made products in Russia on a regular basis, correlating the conditions and technical regulations for e-commerce activities and facilitating the legal framework. Businesspeople are a major force playing a valuable role in furthering bilateral cooperation. Your investment and business activities disseminate new technology, knowledge and trend. Let me express my confidence that the policies run and conditions created by the Government of Mongolia, in support of your business, will be fully utilized to take the development of bilateral economic cooperation to a new stage.”

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MET: We chose an option that less affects citizens’ health

​Ministry of Environment comments on air pollution reduction measures​

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Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) held a press conference on measures against air pollution yesterday, explaining MNT 54 billion installment of stove pipe appliances to over 100,000 households. Minister of Environment and Tourism Minister Tserenbat Namsrai addressed, “Health is our number one priority. Around 52.9 percent of citizens in Ulaanbaatar city have been diagnosed with respiratory diseases. We have to consider the value of citizens’ health. According to an independent study, medical institutions spend over MNT 10 billion on treating the respiratory diseases of children under the age of 18. Another study highlighted that children living in air polluted environment have 40 percent shorter lung capacity than those in the countryside.” “The same study suggests that 80 percent of air pollution in Ulaanbaatar city accounts for 220,000 household stove pipes and the population is increasing with each passing year,” explained Minister Tserenbat. MET estimates the installment of the appliance will drastically reduce air pollution in the capital. Although the cost is enough to construct accommodations for 900 households or finance the prepayment of 4,000 household mortgage loans, these measures will be ineffective in the short-term according to MET. “We chose an option that less affects citizens’ health,” stressed Mr. Tserenbat and added, “This was a mathematical solution to reduce air pollution. Also, we restricted the use of low-pressure stoves and reduced raw coal consumption by around 10 percent.”

HOUSEGOLD ENERGY EXPENSE TO AVERAGE MNT 22,000 WITH THE APPLIANCE

The MET spokesperson provided information on the fully supportive combustion appliance. “The appliance was created by Mongolian engineers and has been studied for 9 months straight by the working group responsible for developing the appliance. This is not a filter. This is an appliance for complete combustion of coal particles and the manufacturer will give 3-years of guarantee on their product,” informed MET spokesperson. The ministry also explained that the installment to 100,000 household is not a test and said, “We are working on installing the appliance only to a short-list of households. Monthly household energy expense will be around MNT 22,000 after installing the appliance and we will try to reduce this cost.”

• Around 52.9 percent of citizens in Ulaanbaatar city have been diagnosed with respiratory diseases.

• 80 percent of air pollution in Ulaanbaatar city accounts for 220,000 household stove pipes.

• This is not a filter. This is an appliance for complete combustion of coal particles.

S.KOREAN SOFT LOAN WILL BE FULLY SPENT ON HOUSING

Minister Tserenbat informed, “The housing policy will be implemented as a long-term solution. The public needs to understand that this measure is an advanced technology to realistically reduce air pollution in the short-term. We are cooperating with the Export-Import Bank of Korea and Mongolian Ministry of Finance to allocate South Korea’s USD 500 million soft loan on housing ger district households.” He then announced that he will take responsibility if the measure fails to reduce air pollution.

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Australian firm acquires Centerra Gold assets in Mongolia

​OZD Capital invests in Mongolia through its subsidiary OZD Asia​

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Brisbane-based Australian firm OZD Capital has announced that the company is investing in Mongolia through its subsidiary OZD Asia PTE Ltd. In other words, the company is investing in Mongolia’s mining projects by acquiring Centerra Netherlands and Centerra Gold Mongolia LLC, which is the 100 percent direct shareholder of Boroo Gold LLC. OZD Capital is the parent company of OZD Asia PTE and focuses on emerging markets, specifically in mining and metal assets by financing and operating them. The company is largely owned by Australian, Singaporean and Mongolian stakeholders.

Centerra Gold assets in Mongolia valued at USD 35 million

A board member of OZD Capital highlighted, “The deal aligns with the company’s core strategy to invest and operate mining and metal assets of emerging markets.” OZD Capital also informed that they have precious metal assets in Asia, South America and West Africa. The company is headquartered in Brisbane, Australia and has branch offices in Singapore and Mongolia. As for OZD Asia, which signed the deal, is registered in Singapore. While Mongolian projects were valued at USD 35 million, the total amount of the agreement totalled USD 90 million according to OZD Capital.

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BoM may restrict FX withdrawal if Parliament passes bill on currency

​Law on Currency Regulation will allow BoM to control FX flow​

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The Bank of Mongolia (BoM) included an article that can allow the bank to temporarily restrict withdrawal and transfer of foreign exchange on the draft Law on Currency Regulation, which was passed by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Economy. BoM explains the article is aimed at maintaining financial stability and reduce dollarization as trade deficit pressures the currency rate. Furthermore, it will allow the bank to control currency rate during sharp volatility. In the first eight months of 2018, the balance of payment totalled USD 361 million in deficit. Within the frames of the International Monetary Fund’s Extended Fund Facility arrangement, Mongolia agreed to have a foreign exchange (FX) reserves of 1-year of average import purchase.

Foreign exchange control will reduce investment, warn economists

Officials highlighted that Mongolia’s current FX reserves can cover six months of import purchase. The BoM set a goal to continue the reform in banking and financial sectors on the 2019 Monetary Policy Guidelines. Thus, several bills will be prepared within the frame. For instance, the bills on Financial Consumer Protection, Development of Secondary Market for Asset Management and Improvement of Legal Regulation of Treasury. The economist club of Bloomberg TV Mongolia highlighted that the Government’s control on fx in and outflow has a negative effect of reducing investment. On the contrary, the BoM views the draft Law on Currency Regulation will reduce FX risks. “The flexibility of currency rate will help protect the economy from foreign shock and boost export competitiveness,” highlighted the Governor of BoM Bayartsaikhan Nadmid. Furthermore, the bill on Financial Consumer Protection will be a strong impetus in reducing interest rate. The bank explained that the lack of identification of financial consumer brought them into an uncertain situation, ultimately harming their rights. The Parliament is expected to discuss the bill soon.

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Flour producers to be granted discounted loan on wheat purchase

​Cabinet decides to favor domestic production over import wheat and flour​

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Chief of Cabinet Secretariat Zandanshatar Gombojav presented the results of Prime Minister Khurelsukh Ukhnaa’s visit to Tuv, Selenge and Darkhan-Uul aimags during the Cabinet meeting yesterday and ordered to study the opportunities to grant interest rate discount to flour producers on wheat purchase. In case a situation emerges to set quota on wheat and flour imports, the Cabinet decided to favor domestic flour production. Related ministers were also ordered to involve greenhouse farmers to the nighttime electricity tariff discount, enable rail transport to grain and increase the number of harvest trucks. Furthermore, the Cabinet resolved to repair the harvest route road of Selenge aimag from the Government’s reserve fund and mobilize military units for harvesting. Minister of Health Sarangerel Davaajantsan will be responsible for funding the current and fixed costs steered from the increased workplaces following the completion of Health Care Center expansion of Bayangol soum, Selenge aimag.

ADVANCE PASSENGER PROCESSING TO BE INSTALLED AT NEW AIRPORT

Later on, the Cabinet decided to install the Advance Passenger Processing (APP) system at the new airport in Khushig Valley. Officials viewed that APP will improve border inspections, information exchange of public bodies and national capacity to fight against terrorism. The APP confirms the passenger’s information from the Wanted Persons List of Interpol, No Fly List and other databases, such as visa, and send the information to local law enforcers within three seconds once the passenger purchases the flight ticket. The system is used in over 70 countries around the globe.

COMPLETION OF GOVERNMENT ACTION PROGRAM STANDS AT 47 PERCENT

As of the first half of this year, the completion of the Government’s Action Plan for 2016-2020 stood at 47.2 percent.

Particularly: Policy on Overcoming Economic Difficulties-55 percent;

Policy on Sustainable Economic Growth-39.8 percent;

Social Policy-46.5 percent;

Environmental and Green Development Policy-44.1 percent;

Governance Policy - 49.7 percent

All government bodies were ordered to intensify the sluggish actions and complete the target level by the end of this year. Additionally, actions that are slowing due to lack of investment will be financed from the state budget, foreign loan aids, as well as private sector investment.