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Economy / Featured News / Mongolia News / Politics / October 24, 2014

State officials are playing with the budget

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The Mongolian National Audit Office examined state budget spending in 2013. The examination showed that state officials were exceeding the budget amount to be spent on international assignments.
The Democratic Party took most the seats during the last election and established its government. At that time, the Prime Minister said that he would work with his Cabinet members six days a week; if there was anyone who couldn’t tolerate this work load, then they could leave. He also criticized previous governments that passed “corrupt” budgets.
But, in reality, his government was no different.
To clarify, most of the Members of Cabinet exceeded their budgets for international assignments, and Minister of Foreign Affairs L.Bold topped the list.
He overspent the budget by 558 million MNT, which was set at nearly 2.79 billion MNT. (See Table 1.)
The ministry explained this issue and said that the overspending of the budget was because of transportation costs for 40 diplomatic representatives, referring to the account of the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Whether this explanation was true or not, it calmed down taxpayers.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs mostly uses foreign currency to cover transportation costs instead of Mongolian currency. They suggest that they estimated that one USD was equivalent to 1,336 MNT at the time of budget planning, which may have also led to the shortage of funds.
Other ministers exceeded their budgets by 17 million to 93 million MNT.
But not all of the MPs blew through their budgets. Some people, including the PM, conserved their budgets, which is really good news. (See Table 2.)
The head of Parliament talked about prohibiting ministers from going on more than two foreign assignments a year. But Table 1 shows that some ministers’ are exceeding these limitations.
Mid-level officials of the State are playing with state funds more than our ministers.
To point out a recent example, there are several officials in the Civil Aviation Authority who always had international assignments, including B.Gan-Ochir, an administration head, and L.Nergui, a head of the finance and economics department.
They both participated in a two-week conference in France and Italy this February, and recently went to a meeting in Taiwan. At present, they are about to go to Korea, the U.S., and Canada to visit Mongolian students who are studying there.
Also, the senior deputy director of the Civil Aviation Authority, S.Enkh-Amgalan, visited the U.S. and Canada several times at the beginning of this month. But he was recently relieved from his job, which could be seen as a kind of measurement against budget abuses.
In addition to this, the members of the City Representatives Khural went to Brazil to study political experiences, at the same time as the FIFA World Cup. They also had fun with state funds, but due to pressure from oppositional forces, they were required to compensate their expenditures.
At the decision of the Orkhon Province Governor, two department officials went to the USA with an expert and police officer to study experiences in law enforcement. It is interesting, because everyone knows there is a big difference in administration, lifestyle, development, public mindset, and weather between Mongolia and the USA.
It would be a very long list if we mentioned every example of state funds being wasted by public officials as if it were their own money. So, where is the implementation of the law that limits and enforces the conservation of the budget?


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