REMARKS BY H.E. MR. ENKHBOLD MIYEGOMBO, CHAIRMAN OF THE STATE GREAT HURAL, AT THE OPENING OF THE 2018 FALL SESSION OF THE STATE GREAT HURAL (PARLIAMENT) OF MONGOLIA
October 01, 2018 Ulaanbaatar
Your Excellency Mr. President,
Your Excellency Mr. Prime Minister
Honorable members of the State Great Hural,
We have gathered to commence our fall session in accordance with the Constitution of Mongolia and the Law on the State Great Hural.
This is a special session in which the parliament will operate according to the added provisions related to the disciplinary and accountability of the members to the Law on the State Great Hural and the procedure of the sessions.
We hope that these changes will inspire us to honor responsibility and ethics, bear voters’ confidence and obey the vows.
This session should focus its policies and activities on the following five key mainstreams.
ONE. The legislative body needs to focus on the capacity of the Mongolian state.
Although we have been discussing this issue for many years, the results are low and no need to hide it.
Therefore, demand to bring about some decisive legal reforms and efficiently implement them becomes an order of Mongolian society.
At first, it is necessary to amend the Constitution of Mongolia. We have been studying and consulting with scientists and people for two years on whether there is a need to amend or not, and, if yes, so to what extent.
Through the discussions and opinions of citizens across the country, we have made ready a draft to amend the Constitution. Currently, according to the law, comments are being obtained from the relevant authorities.
The majority of the people agrees that the Constitution needs to be amended for abolishing current political and socio-economic barriers, and for strengthening development policies, responsible and fair governance.
It is nonsense to wait for someone to take necessary actions. Any delay will increase the risk of losing.
The Working Group on the Amendments to the Constitution included representatives from political parties, civil society organizations, and academics.
It is a draft that has been discussed and examined by a number of parliaments, not a single party, and jointly designed by reflecting comments of people.
Therefore, it is important to aim to discuss. The issue to make changes in the legal environment of transparency and financing of the political party has been added in the list of agenda of this fall session.
Transparent activities, precise policy, and program, particularly clear financing system of the parties are a basic condition for the sound politics.
We all see that the different levels of elections are dependent on limited purpose and money, and right policy, the trustworthiness and the value of knowledge and experience are being lost.
Attempting to blame someone or any political force will not solve the problem. Instead, it is important to make substantial legal changes.
It relates to the reform of electoral law as well and I hope that our members will emphasize the interest of the country, but not seek the chance to be elected or make own party win.
According to the democracy index survey of the Economist Intelligence Unit located in Great Britain conducted in 165 UN-member countries, Mongolia was classified as a state with weak or poor democracy.
This category involves the countries in where although the elections are democratic and free, the political culture and ethics are low and the citizens are not politically active.
We can find people who agree that the political culture of Mongols is bad, but I can’t accept the conclusion stating their political participation as poor. In fact, it's hard to find a person who is not politicized or does not talk about the politics.
Unfortunately, the political talks are usually formed in the womb of the populism and are incinerated in weak incubators that are washing people’ brain.
Political populism has become too overwhelming in Mongolia, and after all, is understood and accepted as a must.
The mudslinging through media, particularly the social networks, are becoming the norm in our lives. Organizers and financiers-politicians should immediately get rid of this method of disruption of the nation and disregard the country.
Scientists warn that the pragmatism, not a populism is having a vital role in a developed country's political policy.
In determining the state policy, there must not be any debate on the abstract formula or on any purpose to show yourself smart.
We still miss the pragmatic policy based on our economic potential, state policy, and strategy and which will lead us to move forward with a confidence in a proper way.
We don’t need any meaningless politicizing and division, hostility among society and people. Instead, we need a consensus and understanding. Therefore, I call for transferring the system into one where the President, the Parliament, the Government, political forces and civil society jointly reach a consensus on confronting issues and execute the decision made.
With this purpose, it’s even possible to initiate and fulfill the “National consensus agreement”.
The heads of the judicial authorities, ministries, and agencies of which the heads are appointed by the State Great Hural are taking part in this session.
Government is the largest employer. And as the employer, it manages the 192,000 employees administratively through all of you. Therefore, the ethics, discipline, and reputation of civil servants are of direct relevance to you.
Due to the weak internal control and lack of management in government organization, a civil servant has committed a serious crime, a murder of another. All levels of the government institutes and authorities must demand adherence of the laws, honoring discipline, responsibility, and ethics as well hold anybody committed an offense accountable.
The "Law on civil service" revised by the parliament will come into force from next year.
I’d like to remind you to lead the process of obeying the new law aimed at intensifying the civil service reform through making the civil service independent from political impact and engraining in it the merit system, and of implementing the recommendations recently came out from Country Workshop.
TWO. It is impossible to talk about growing the economy and raising the people's livelihood without improving the business environment.
We did manage to overcome the difficult time when the country was on the edge of crisis with the pressure of debt and loan interest, constantly lasting economic downturn.
Real economic growth reached 6.3 percent in the first half of 2018, which is an increase of 5.1 points compared to 2016. As of the first 8 months of this year, the consolidated budget structural revenue reached 5.8 trillion MNT and the revenue plan exceeded by 888.0 billion MNT. For instance, as of the first two months of 2017, the aid amount has risen by 36 percent or by MNT 254.5 billion compared to the same period of last year, and the income plan had been fully implemented.
In 2018, 3.8 trillion MNT must be spent for the payment of foreign and domestic debt and their interest, of which 753.3 billion MNT was settled. In 2016, Government debt was equal to 78.8% of the country’s GDP and as of the first half of 2018, it declined to 63.4 percent.
As of the first 8 months of 2018, the amount for the credit service fee is lower by MNT 132.2 billion or 17.1 percent than the projected amount which demonstrates the cut in the interest.
For such a positive change, in addition to the rise of commodity price in the world market, the optimal budget, financial and monetary policy for the past two years had a decisive impact.
This session will discuss and adopt the monetary policy as well as the state budget for next year. For this, it is important to focus on retaining the policy stable and distributing the growth across the population. The decision was made to increase the pension and allowance by 8% from January 2018 and salaries of some civil servants by 8-30 percent from the beginning of September.
The salaries, pensions, and allowances must be allocated to the state budget in line with the fiscal and financial resources in the next year too.
The civil service must be compact and competent. Two years ago, the State Great Hural made a decision to save budget and money, accordingly, the Secretariat of the State Great Hural has reduced the personnel as well as the cost by 10 percent and thus saved 546.4 million MNT.
However, the other government organizations did not have taken a significant action to reduce the staffing cost.
I call for state organizations of all level to pursue a policy to reduce the employment and cost by 10 percent while discussing this year's budget.
I’d like to point out that it is important to carefully consider the world's economic situation and attitude when you will adopt the budget.
The risk of international trade and economic relations is increasing faster than it was presumed.
According to the experts, mutual trade restrictions by powerful countries in the world, petroleum product sanctions and growth of policy interest rate, weakening of the main currency rate will continue in the coming years. This is to limit global economic growth, increase the uncertainty of external markets, and put severe pressure on developing countries, particularly those in fragile situations.
This pressure has already been felt in our country. Even though the economic and business environment is improving, the ability to withstand external risk and the mid-term outlook is still weak, risky and vulnerable. And we can see it from the drop of the exchange rate of MNT against US dollar by 2.2 percent in the last month because of inability to stand for the slight changes in foreign markets and the domestic import revival.
Therefore, let’s consider the followings in discussing the budget and monetary policy:
First, the policy to prevent and mitigate the external risk, and sustain the stable growth is important. For example, it is to take realistic measures aimed at creating a favorable environment for foreign investment, and consistently continue the actions on increasing foreign currency reserves, eliminating export infrastructure difficulties, and also ensuring reforms of banking and financial sector as well as fiscal stability.
Second, the economic reforms need to be intensified.
Therefore, it is necessary to shift into the export-oriented economic structure which has immunity from global market volatility and capability of self-sufficiency. Otherwise, we cannot get rid of the chain of Rise and Fall, Income and Consumption, Instability and Poverty.
Third, economic diplomacy with neighboring countries needs to be brought to a new level. The private sector needs the policies and programs aimed at letting them enter the export market with favorable trading conditions, opening new opportunities for joint entrepreneurship.
48 member countries of the Asian Development Bank have concluded an average of 11 free trade agreements each, while Mongolia made only one three years ago.
Further, we should not miss out on the benefits of major regional projects or programs being implemented by neighbors and other countries.
The State Great Hural is placing a special importance on drafting the General Law on Taxation, the law on Corporate Income Tax and the Personal Income Tax.
Also, we should not forget that the public is expecting us to discuss and pass the Law on Promoting Small and Medium Sized Enterprises.
It is important to shift the arguing debates on projects and programs of mining, energy, railways, roads, processing industries, livestock breeding, and agriculture and farming that have a substantial effect in the economic and social development into real work.
In the meantime, I urge the Working Group in charge of examining the loan guarantee issued by "Erdenet Mining Corporation" LLC and the implementation of investment agreement of Oyu Tolgoi and making a conclusion which was formed according to the ordinance of the Chairman of the State Great Hural to introduce the result on their work to the Standing Committee and the parliament in the near future.
Parliament has passed a resolution on intensifying the operation of ”Tavan Tolgoi” coal deposit. And I remind you a duty to introduce its implementation to the Parliament by 2018.
In 2018, 683.3 billion MNT was allocated in the projects and activities whereas 176.8 billion MNT was spent which is 27.6% of the total performance.
The construction works of school, kindergarten, road, and bridge don’t begin on planned time. Thus, it’s necessary to pay attention to this tradition repeated this year again.
THREE. Education is our priority sector. And the sector that is not less important than the education is a health.
Only Mongolians with quality education and health can take full advantage of Mongolia's future.
We cannot fulfill this goal without improving access and benefits of primary and secondary education as well as without making a revolution in higher education institutions to transfer from the quantity to quality.
The key factor in the quality of education and health sector is the capacity of teachers and doctors.
The Parliament passed the Law on Promoting Teachers' Development at its last session. There is a need to start implementing it without listing the reasons such as no budget etc.
Teachers' strike of this fall has created a massive wave in the society. It is true that the salaries of the civil servants and doctors are low. It should be increased. But counting the resources, sitting face to face and understanding the situation would be an optimal step. It is more beneficial when government agencies and authorities meet, listen to, and discuss with people.
Unfortunately, incapability of doing such causes the strikes and demonstrations and after all, leads to the standard that resolves the problem ultimately by way of a concession. The time has come to abolish this standard.
The Government has implemented "School Breakfast" program since 2006. This program is going to be extended and thus reflected as "School Lunch" in the Draft Law on Food and Services of the Secondary Education School submitted by members of parliament.
In addition, there is a content in this draft to provide the child with healthy and safe food in line with making them gain the knowledge of nutrition and develop the proper eating habits through organizing training.
There is a success in the health sector. The transplanting work approached the world's standards.
The "Whole Liver-Mongolia" program has achieved some results. The internationally recognized hospitals have been established.
However, we have stopped paying attention to AIDS. It is unfortunate that sexually transmitted diseases are spreading out. The incidences of the cardiovascular and vascular disease are increasing and targets are becoming younger.
Therefore, the "Healthy Mongol" program should be restored and medical check-ups of all Mongolians should be conducted once a year.
Let us make employers of all level responsible for examining their employees and in case of not doing so, be punished.
The implementation of Law on Health Services began in 2016 has been weak.
The regulation to provide medical support and services under the contract of pre-financing and the list of medical support and services to be provided by private health organizations on the basis of contracts are not yet ready.
Also, the procedure for the selection of directors of state and local specialized and general hospitals is not yet approved.
Consequently, the appointment of 12 hospitals’ directors was done without any selection exams which is an violation of the principle.
FOUR. It is important to evaluate the activities of organizations and officials responsible for the implementation and monitoring of the law.
The legal system is sufficiently set up to organize and report on the implementation of legislation. Agencies and ministries are responsible for organizing and implementing the laws within their respective fields.
The Government has a stage-system to be responsible for ensuring the implementation of the Constitution and other laws throughout the country and will be responsible in front of the State Great Hural /Parliament/.
We have adopted many laws and resolutions. The number of accomplished works is much higher than the previous parliaments. Yet what about the enforcement of the law?
Let me introduce the enforcement of one law.
The Law on Animal Health is passed and is in force.
The General Authority for Veterinary Services was established by the decision of the Government and the State Great Hural /Parliament/ of Mongolia. According to this law, the veterinary authorities, laboratories, and units in soums and districts had to be established.
However, directors of only 15 Veterinary Services have been appointed. No one unit has been created in aimag and soum levels.
In other words, there is no action taken to organize the implementation of this law, rather than the establishment of agency and appointment of several directors. Consequently, the system to deliver veterinary services to citizens has not yet formed.
The policy to care health of livestock, export the meat, increase herder-family income, and to support the traditional economic sector is being delayed accordingly.
Therefore, I assign the Government to analyze its work to organize the implementation of the legislation and to report its result.
Child protection and child safety are not being provided in Mongolia. The number of children who become the victims of domestic violence has increased and the incidences of children losing their lives are existing regrettably.
Joint working group of the Standing Committee on Legal Affairs and the Standing Committee on Social Policy, Education, Culture and Science has made monitoring on the implementation of the Law on Domestic Violence, Law on the Child Right and Law on Child Protection and gave relevant direction to the Government.
During this session, it is necessary to review and summarize the implementation of the directions given and resolutions adopted.
In the area of child protection and e-security, the ad-hoc committee on E-Policy of the parliament is initiating certain actions. They have sent me the Guidance published as a result of the public debate.
The relevant authorities should consider that there are a number of issues in the guidance that need to be taken into accounts, such as information security, cyber, child-manner, and youth information exchange.
The draft Law on the Amendment to the Criminal Code and the offense planned to be discussed in Autumn Session should reflect the proposal of mothers to strengthen the policy on protecting the child from violence and to tighten the policy on sentences imposed to violators/rapists.
I’d like members of the parliament to pay attention to developing the optimal policy on prevention from crime and offense related to illicit traffic in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances and on punishment.
FIVE. Let me briefly describe my position on some issues that are confronting and driving an attention.
I would like to ask what a dramatic change this year will be made in the reduction of air and environment pollution.
Have the spent funds been effective? Certain actions have been taken at parliament, government, and capital city level. Now we need the result.
I understand that air pollution will not disappear at once in one winter. Yet, it is important that the actions taken are optimal and will infuse the hope that the chronic problem can be solved completely.
The traffic congestion is an issue depressing people not less than the air pollution.
Therefore, it is time to immediately implement the optimal solutions, such as complying the import tax with the car age, increasing the investment on improving the public transport service, building a bridge and cross-road facilities urgently.
Harvesting, preparation for hay and winter is ongoing.
The preliminary balance of harvest of wheat, potatoes, and vegetables is estimated to account 1.2-1.8 times more compared to last year. I have been told that it is possible to harvest more than 1.0 million tons of hay.
However, whether of this autumn has become so disruptive. The herders are reminding that the winter will be severe according to their experience and observations.
Therefore, it is important to properly prepare for harvest and winter and to reserve for potential risks from now on.
During the recess of the parliamentary session, the certain members have demanded extraordinary session and the President of Mongolia has submitted a proposal supporting their demand.
In short, the suggestion was to repeal by session the parliamentary resolution on the appointment of the head of the Anti-Corruption Agency.
The law on Anti-Corruption stated the backgrounds of removal and resignation of the head and deputy head of the Anti-Corruption Agency and prohibited to do so other than stated in the law.
We are working and living in a country with a legal environment where not only the head of the Anti-Corruption Agency but all civil servants should be removed or dismissed only according to the law.
Thus, the supreme body of the legislative power should not violate the law itself.
In the past, the proposal was discussed twice by the Council at the Speaker.
And Council decided right to set up the date for an extraordinary session after discussing it at the Standing Committee on Legal Affairs.
I would like to ask you to work diligently on discussing and adopting the planned laws and resolutions on time.
Let me announce the 2018 fall session of the State Great Hural is now open.