Decisions Made at Cabinet SessionPolitics
Ulaanbaatar, March 23, 2023 /MONTSAME/. During its regular session on March 22, 2023, the Cabinet made the following decisions:
Accounts Linked to Escapers to be Frozen
The Government of Mongolia has declared 2023 as the “Year to Combat Corruption" and started the five “W” operations, “Whistleblowing”, “Wiping-out”, “Wasp”, “Wealth”, and “Wide-open”, to combat corruption. In this regard, the Prime Minister mandated to intensify the anti-corruption activities and bring overseas escapers back to the court according to international agreements and Mongolian laws, and hold them accountable, ensuring the streamlined process of investigation. Moreover, according to the Minister of Justice and Home affairs, accounts linked to escapers will be frozen.
Annual Inflation Rate is 12.2 Percent Nationwide and 12.1 Percent in Ulaanbaatar city as of February 2023.
At the session, Minister of Economy and Development Mr. Khurelbaatar presented on the current state of the economy and the increase in the price of goods and services.
According to the National Statistics Office, annual inflation has reached 12.2 percent nationwide and 12.1 percent in Ulaanbaatar city as of February 2023. The inflation rate reached a record-high 16.1% in June 2022 and has been on a downward trend since then. Deceleration of inflation is mainly attributable to the decreased pressure of MNT devaluation due to the increase in foreign currency reserve and stability in the currency market as well as the decrease in prices of goods and services on foreign markets.
Even though the inflation rate has been decreasing, it remains two times higher than the central bank’s target rate. Other reasons that can explain the stubborn inflation rate include the increase in prices of refined fuel and diesel fuel. Especially, the diesel fuel price has increased by 28% compared to the same period of the previous year. Prices of food products, including flour, flour-based products, milk, dairy products, and some types of vegetables, have increased by 30-50%.
The Bank of Mongolia raised the benchmark rate five times, by a cumulative 7% point in 2022. During its scheduled meeting in March 2023, the Monetary Policy Committee decided to keep the policy rate unchanged at 13 percent. The Government is advised not to take any measures that may hinder economic activities, but to focus on increasing the foreign currency reserve in the future.
Projects “Bus Rapid Transit” and “Revival of Selbe River” to be Launched in 2023
Minister of Mongolia and Head of National Commission to Reduce Traffic Congestion of Ulaanbaatar city J. Sukhbaatar presented on process and results of projects which are being implemented with capital city budget funds and foreign loans and assistance at the Cabinet session.
Within the framework of the goal of improving the quality and availability of public transport services in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar, which is included in the "New Revival Policy" document, the Cabinet members discussed and supported the “Bus Rapid Transition” (BRT) project to be implemented by the Asian Development Bank’s set of loans worth USD 655 million. Minister of Mongolia and Head of National Commission to Reduce Traffic Congestion of Ulaanbaatar city J. Sukhbaatar and Governor of Ulaanbaatar city D. Sumiyabazar were tasked to launch the project within 2023.
According to Ulaanbaatar City’s Public Transportation Policy, the BRT is a medium-term project and a part of the set of measures, which will be taken, aligning with the further larger projects. Upon completion of the project, the city buses will be scheduled with a waiting time of 4-12 minutes and an average speed of 18-25 km/h.
In addition, the Cabinet members discussed and supported the concept of the “Revival of Selbe River” project, in consideration of the goal to create multimodal public transportation in Ulaanbaatar, included in the Ulaanbaatar city’s 2040 General Development Plan. The project will be implemented under the public-private partnership within 2023.
Within the framework of the “Revival of Selbe River”, a 21.6 km long flood dam and other landscaping works, including the construction of special roads for buses and bicycles, and pedestrians, are planned along the Selbe river in order to increase the flow and improve the ecological condition of Selbe river, create a healthy and safe environment for people and reduce traffic congestion of the city.
The Cabinet mandated Minister of Finance B. Javkhlan and Governor of Ulaanbaatar city D. Sumiyabazar to settle the required financing for 2023 of the projects to be implemented to reduce the traffic congestion of Ulaanbaatar city.