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Economy / Featured News / Mongolia News / Politics / September 25, 2014

Responsible Government?

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Should the current government, headed by N. Altankhuyag, resign? Mongolia’s current situation clearly reveals its main economic indicators have dropped, a number of businesses have shut down, and the number of unemployed is on the rise. Citizens are fast running out of cash. The currency rate against the USD exceeds MNT 1,800 and foreign trade has dropped by more than 70 percent this year.

For foreign investors, the market is risky. The debt chain has increased and debt management issues are apparent. Even the construction sector, a leading industry for Mongolia last year, is in sharp decline. Ongoing construction projects are rarely found, as there are just a few potential apartment buyers in Ulaanbaatar and materials are expensive.

In other countries, if the economy had deteriorated like Mongolia’s, government officials would have already handed in their resignation. We have seen in media reports, many times, that government officials around the world are forced to resign.
According to other nations’ experiences, if the government’s decisions leads to such a negative impact on citizens’ lives, then citizens may demonstrate against their government and protest until its resignation.

But in Mongolia, the situation is different. Its government is acting like it is innocent and did not make any mistakes. Government officials explain that the current difficulties are due to a global economic crisis, but is that the case?
People often say current economic difficulties are not due to external factors, but are due to internal issues such as conflicts between political parties and factions among the ruling party; desperate fights for better positions; money and power; useless policy putting the parties’ interests before the country’s; corruption; red-tape; and a lack of education and experience.

In June this year, the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) deputy managing director Naoyuki Shinohara and other officials visited Mongolia to meet officials and advised them to revisit their economic policy. The visiting officials recommended tighter expansionary monetary and budget policies in order to overcome short-term economic difficulties.

According to Mongolians who work at the IMF and World Bank in Washington, DC, Mongolia is fast headed toward becoming the next Argentina – renowned for flirting with economic default. A new economic policy and responsible government is necessary to prevent this looming crisis.

There are two options:

To continue until the end of next year with the current government, or to see the resignation of the  government.
What would it be like to spend another two years with the current government? Confidence could possibly be restored if it confesses its setbacks and mistakes to the extent that it is reflected in further policy.

Prime Minister Altankhuyag needs to learn responsibility, as does his party – the Democratic Party of Mongolia (DP). We can see from today’s situation, the government seems quite unsure of its ability to restore voter confidence. R. Amarjargal, member of parliament and member of the DP, doubts if his Government can do just that.

In an interview he said, “Political leaders should stand in the front with the shield to establish a government with mainly non-party representatives and preferably professional requirements. And this government should be the one to save the national economy by lifting up the economy, to revive it and to create the right way to do this.’’
Former Vice Minister of Finance G. Chuluunkhutagt, however, said that the best way to get over this economic difficulty is through political agreements between the two parties.

We have the common ground, time, and opportunity to get rid of economic difficulties and lead the economy in the right direction for the short term, but if we can get a new government that works responsibly with experienced and knowledgeable professionals, and that is inclusive of non-party members as well, then stable long-term agreements may be reached.

The main role of a new government would be to revive the economy, to set policy in the right way, to define a development strategy, and to create system that subsequent governments comply with. However, every time a new government wins an election, they reject the concerns and past doings of previous governments because Mongolia doesn’t have a sustainable strategic policy.

Mongolians care about the leaders of the future. The two major parties—the DP and the MPP—say their policies are divided into right and left wings; interviewed experts on a recent television show, however, say that the parties have almost no difference.

It’s hard to differentiate between each party’s policy and what they stand for. Common to each party is their need to hold power and get rich through public money and authority, by lying to their people. How can Mongolia really develop if this is the development policy we’re stuck with?

SOURCE: Mongolian Economy

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