|Frontier's "Invest Mongolia Tokyo 2018"||Frontier Securities||Tokyo Japan|
|"Open to Export" ICC WTO International business award||ICC WTO||London|
Dr. Enebish Namjil is a professor at the National University of Mongolia. He worked as administrator for the Darkhan Solar Plant Project (10MW) which commissioned its full operations on January 19, 2017 in Khongor Soum of Darkhan-Uul Aimag. Dr. Enebish spoke with the Mongol Messenger during his participation in the 8th National Renewable Energy Forum and shared his thoughts on Mongolia's capability to utilize renewable energy.
First of all, let me congratulate you on successfully commissioning the Darkhan Solar Plant. How is the plant’s operation going? To what extent does it contribute to the central energy network?
The project was successfully completed. Mongolia’s total electricity consumption is roughly 1GW. Nearly 90 percent of this demand is met by the centralized energy system which means 800-900 MW. The 10 MW of energy produced by the Darkhan Solar Plant is a tiny contribution.
In your opinion, which one of the three main sources of renewable energy – water, wind and sun – is the most viable in Mongolia?
All three of them are viable in our country. All we need to do is to come up with the right and ambitious policy. While Mongolia can be ranked 5th in the world with its underground mineral resources, it can top the globe with its capacity to utilize renewable energy. The Mongolian Gobi desert is advantageous for it is studied more closely compared to other deserts such as the Sahara and Arizona.
Starting in 1999, we teamed up with international experts and studied feasibilities of the Gobi for utilization of renewable energy and even came up with technological solutions to exploit the great resources. Our studies have proven that mega plants with 10-100 times larger capacities than the total energy consumption of Mongolia can be built in the Gobi. Mongolia has nothing to lose because such plants only require a minuscule part of the vast Gobi region. The land will not be dug or depraved in any way; it will only be used for its sunlight and wind. Mongolia will benefit from the high-tech and possibility of exporting the excess energy that's produced. Only the tax revenue of such amount of renewable energy exports will be enough to increase Mongolia’s GDP several times.
Will these large developments require a great amount of other type of sources such as water?
Renewable energy plants never use millions of tons of water like thermal power plants. Water will only be required for drinking and cleaning the main equipment once or twice a year. Wind farms do not use water for their operation. Besides, Mongolia has a chance to prosper utilizing the power of its surface water source. Isn’t it regretful to know that we are wasting ground water, which is a more precious resource than gold itself, just to operate the cooling system of thermal plants and see the ground water evaporate in a few years? The world's most developed countries have actually been practicing utilization of surface water for development. The usage rate of surface and ground water is normally 90:10 in developed nations, whereas the rate is almost the opposite in Mongolia.
Does this mean you support the building of hydropower plants in Mongolia?
Absolutely...hydro-plants use only the flowing force. The important thing is to build them according to proper standards and technology.
What's your opinion of Orkhon-Gobi project?
I take it as one of the best initiatives in terms of its significance in expanding green zones in the Gobi region and improving drinking water supply to the Gobi. There are many projects such as Orkhon-Gobi with similar technological models in other countries. Orkhon-Gobi project is one of the most outstanding alternatives of making use of the surface water that flows through the territory. As such, I think this is the best project so far that offers the use of surface water to satisfy the water consumption of Mongolia. In its absence, major mines in the Gobi, namely, Oyu Tolgoi and Tsagaansuvarga obviously use ground water. As I said earlier, ground water is more precious than copper or gold. It is reckless that we are wasting something more valuable to produce things of less value. There is no disadvantage for Mongolia to become a renewable energy producer. It will require land area which would equal to less than one percent of the country's territory, yet be enough to make this country wealthy by multiplying the GDP several times. Renewable energy resources, for Mongolia, are an unexplored "gold mine".
Does Mongolia have enough professional cadres to move such large-scale projects forward?
Mongolia does have a certain level of professional force. The government has been attaching greater importance to the issue. I can name the agreement with the Government of Japan on preparing 'One Thousand Engineers'. Training specialists in renewable energy and electrical engineering is a priority. There are renewable energy engineering courses opening at the Mongolian University of Science and Technology and 20-30 students graduate every year. I am a lecturer at the National University of Mongolia. Ten students from the university are studying in Japan to earn Master's and Doctor's degrees in renewable energy. Also, to operate wind farms or solar plants requires only two or three highly-skilled engineers. Only two engineers are operating the Darkhan Solar Plant, commissioned recently. Combined with three security guards, three dispatchers, a director and driver, only 11 personnel are required to run the whole plant. On the other hand, a thermal power plant with equal capacity as the solar plant hire 300-400 workers just to run smooth operations.
Can Mongolia become exporter of renewable energy?
The very lucid example of reaching the goal of establishing export-targeted production might actually be the production of renewable energy. Especially, producing solar and wind energy is a development passage for Mongolia. For the time being, mining is the main source of our country's income; it is an inarguable truth. Nevertheless, Mongolia can certainly become a regional pillar of renewable energy production. In order to make this come true, the Government should commit uncompromisingly to carry-out negotiations and deals with our two great neighbors and other countries in Northeast Asia.
The interview first appeared in the Mongol Messenger's issue No. 19 for May 12, 2017
KATHMADNU - Nepali stakeholders have said that Nepal's participation in China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative has opened window of many opportunities in the areas of trade and investment.
Nepal and China had signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Belt and Road Initiative on May 12 in Kathmandu before Nepali delegation led by Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Krishna Bahadur Mahara participated the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing on May 14.
Speaking at the 14th meeting of Nepal-China Non-governmental Cooperation Forum on Thursday, a platform of apex private sectors of two countries, Mahara said Nepal should take advantage of the opportunity to attract more Chinese investment in Nepal.
"Nepal is very much keen to take advantage of China's high economic growth," he said.
Bhawani Rana, President of Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI), the apex private sector body of Nepal, said following the signing of the MoU on Belt and Road Initiative, the door has been opened for more cooperation between two countries.
"There is a lot of scope of investment from China in the areas of hydropower, manufacturing sector, tourism and road infrastructure under public-private partnership modality," she said.
The forum was formed in 1996 with the joint initiative of FNCCI and All China Federation of Industry and Commerce (ACFIC) to promote economic and business cooperation, joint ventures and cultural exchanges from the private sectors of two countries.
On the occasion, Chinese Ambassador to Nepal Yu Hong stressed that Nepal needs to take measures to improve investment climate including in the areas of policy stability and infrastructure development.
E-commerce giant Alibaba and its financial services affiliate plan to lead an investment round of at least $1 billion in a Chinese food delivery service, sources told Bloomberg.
According to people familiar with the matter, the financing will value startup Ele.me at $5.5-$6 billion. It will also help to compete with firms like Meituan-Dianping for the massive Chinese market.
Apparently, Alibaba’s investment is motivated by rival Tencent Holdings being a stakeholder in Meituan-Dianping and also has a small stake in Ele.me.
China’s two largest internet companies Alibaba and Tencent have been focusing on the so-called on-demand services as a way to promote their lucrative online payments services.
Sales of on-demand services are expected to exceed $1 trillion this year in China as people turn to their smartphones or the web to order food, schedule beauty treatments and hire domestic helpers. Growth in local food and restaurant transactions is forecast to outstrip many other retail segments in the world’s second-largest economy.
Tencent is now “putting up quite a big initiative around the restaurant vertical” to propel WeChat Pay, said the company’s President Martin Lau. He added the firm had lost market share in restaurants but is “putting aside a pretty good budget to get back on the competition front.”
Alibaba’s deal with Ele.me which translates from Mandarin as “Are you hungry now?” was first reported in December 2015. The startup has previously raised $3 billion from Uber competitor Didi Kuaidi and a group of investors.
Even though Denmark has already voted against dropping the krone for the euro, the European Commission may coerce the country to adopt the European single currency, reports German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
The notes leaked from last week's meeting in Strasbourg revealed the EU Commission wants all 27 members of the bloc to adopt the euro by 2025.
Officials from the EU are reportedly seeking to draw up a euro budget able to incorporate a fixed tax payment from all the member states. The raised cash is for investment across the bloc.
However, the EU Commissioner for the Euro and Social Dialogue Valdis Dombrovskis, says the whole thing has been misunderstood.
“There has been some confusion. What we discuss in the coming reflection paper is the completion of the economic and monetary union. It doesn’t mean the EU member states must adopt the euro. There is no specific time schedule, but we naturally encourage all member states to make the necessary preparations,” the EU Commission’s Swedish site quotes Dombrovskis.
The euro is the sole currency for 19 members of the bloc. The nine remaining countries, including Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Sweden, and the United Kingdom, that is currently in the process of quitting the EU, do not use the euro as the main national currency.
The EU Commission is reportedly due to hold a meeting regarding the future of the euro on May 31. The cabinet wants to re-establish control over the euro, according to the German tabloid.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and major non-OPEC oil producing nations have agreed to extend their cuts in crude oil output until March of next year.
OPEC held a meeting at its headquarters in Vienna, Austria, on Thursday. Participants agreed on the 9-month extension, citing the need to ease the glut of supply. The cuts originally were to finish at the end of June.
At a separate meeting with OPEC members, leading non-OPEC countries, including Russia, agreed on the extension.
The agreement is apparently in line with a similar deal struck between Saudi Arabia and Russia on May 15th.
OPEC and non-OPEC nations implemented the reductions in January to raise crude prices. But a rise in oil prices has been capped by expansion of shale oil production in the US.
Observers say the same cycle may occur again, clouding the prospect for higher crude prices.
Ulaanbaatar /MONTSAME/ During its plenary session on May 25, Thursday, Parliament discussed and approved the appointment of heads of diplomatic missions to 6 countries.
President Ts.Elbegdorj made a proposal on the appointment of 6 Ambassadors to Parliamentary Standing committee on Security and Foreign Policy which gave a nod, and transferred it to the Parliament.
The candidates were - Purevsuren Lundeg to Switzerland, Battur Avirmed to France, Ganbat Damba to Germany, Tenger Gonchigzeveg to Japan, Otgonbayar Yondon to the US and Chimguundari Navaan-Yunden to Canada. During the Parliament session, the candidates presented their actions plans, expressing readiness to uphold the image of Mongolia abroad, and work responsibly.
Thus, the Parliament voted up the appointment of Ambassadors Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Mongolia to Switzerland, France, Germany, Japan, the US and Canada.
Ulaanbaatar /MONTSAME/ On May 25, Minister of Finance B.Choijilsuren and IMF Resident Representative Neil Saker made a briefing regarding the Executive Board’s approval of three-year extended arrangement under Extended Fund Facility (EFF) for Mongolia.
“- Since the Government and Bank of Mongolia reached an agreement with IMF to implement EFF, credit rate of Mongolia has improved and investors’ trusts have been raised. In other words, economy of Mongolia has transferred from fall to growth and green light has been lit in the economy. The first funding of USD38.6 million will be disbursed very soon” said the Finance Minister. Later today, the Bank Mongolia reported that the funding of USD 38.6 million has been deposited into the central bank from the IMF.
If private sector financing is added, then the total amount of EFF will reach USD6 billion. The funding will be considered as the biggest in IMF history of operation in terms of GDP relations, said Mr Neil Saker. “The program will aim to stop high economic growth and drastic fall, ensuring stable economic growth of 8 per cent. Mongolia has potential and resource to ensure such growth”, he noted.
The program aims to stabilize the economy, restore confidence, and pave the way to economic recovery. A critical pillar of the program is fiscal consolidation, to reduce the pressure on domestic financial markets, stabilize the external position, and restore debt sustainability. The program includes important safeguards to protect the most vulnerable during this period of adjustment as well as institutional reforms to make sure the fiscal adjustment is durable. Another pillar of the program is a comprehensive effort to rehabilitate the banking system and strengthen the Bank of Mongolia. A broad set of structural reforms is designed to support private-sector led growth.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported that Deputy Foreign Minister B.Battsetseg paid an official visit to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) from May 16 to 19, at the invitation of North Korean Deputy Foreign Minister Ri Gil Song.
The Ministry reported that Deputy Minister B.Battsetseg met with North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho, but also had formal discussions with her counterpart, Ri Gil Song.
The discussions mainly focused on relations and cooperation between the two countries. The two sides discussed the status of the Northeast Asian region and, as an extension, regional security.
Deputy Minister B.Battsetseg formally invited Ri Gil Song to participate in the Ulaanbaatar Dialogue on Northeast Asian Security, which will be organized in the capital from June 15 to 16. Past conferences have included the participation of more than 35 representatives from Mongolia, Russia, China, Japan, the DPRK, the ROK, the U.S., Germany, and the Netherlands.
Parliamentary investigative team claims Mongol Bank has a three trillion MNT deficit www.theubpost.mn
A parliamentary working group established to investigate and regulate the operations of Mongol Bank reported the findings of their investigation to the parliamentary caucus of the Mongolian People’s Party (MPP), stating that Mongol Bank has a deficit of three trillion MNT.
The working group was established on February 1. MP T.Ayursaikhan headed the group, whose members included MPs M.Oyunchimeg, Ts.Davaasuren, Kh.Bolorchuluun, J.Bat-Erdene, and S.Chinzorig.
Mongol Bank’s operational deficit was investigated. In the past four years, the bank’s deficit has doubled every year. In 2016, the bank reported a deficit of 962 billion MNT. The working group investigated the reasons for the deficit, as the bank’s deficit puts pressure on the state budget.
“Until 2011, the bank was working profitably. It experienced a deficit in 2010, but was profitable in most years. But in 2012, Mongol Bank began experiencing significant deficit. We will investigate and reach a conclusion,” the working group’s members stated in February.
The probe, which ended on April 30, encompassed all of the operations of the bank, including commercial loans that were issued that were alleged to be illegal, the bank’s transparency, and their financial statements.
Reports that the central bank has experienced a deficit of three trillion MNT since 2012 have not been verified, but analysts say they are plausible due to the bank’s spending on price stabilization and the state’s mortgage program. If the claims are true, the central bank’s deficit is equal to half of this year’s state budget.
Some members of the MPP advocated for keeping the results of the investigation classified, due to the controversy that might be created leading up to an important presidential election. There are unverified reports that Mongol Bank provided commercial loans with an interest rate of 0.85 percent when it is not legally allowed to do so.
Reports indicate that the results of the investigation were handed out to members of the MPP were confiscated after the meeting, and that all of them were required to sign a confidentiality agreement.
When reached for comment, a Mongol Bank public relations officer said, “Due to spending on the price stabilization project and the mortgage program, that number may be plausible.” However, the public relations officer failed to verify if Mongol Bank had a deficit of three trillion MNT.
During the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ regularly monthly press conference, Foreign Minister Ts.Munkh-Orgil has reported that Mongolia will be receiving two billion RMB in aid from the People’s Republic of China. The Minister also reported on the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation organized in Beijing, during which the Foreign Minister accompanied Prime Minister J.Erdenebat in meetings.
Speaking on Mongolia-China relations, Ts.Munkh-Orgil said, “There are no misunderstandings or issues in relations between the two countries. We hold common ground on trade, investment, and cooperation. The priorities for these issues include large infrastructure, mining, and energy projects.”
“As part of the state visit, more than 21 agreements were signed by the government, ministries, and private businesses. One large agreement was to intertwine Mongolia’s Development Road infrastructure project with China’s One Belt, One Road initiative,” noted Ts.Munkh-Orgil.
The Foreign Minister answered questions from the media after the press conference.
China will provide two billion RMB in aid. How will you spend the money?
From 2018 to 2020, China will provide Mongolia with two billion RMB in aid. The Chinese side has told us to inform of them which sectors we will be spending the money on.
In 2017, we will receive 350 million RMB in aid, and will use the money for the redevelopment of the ger districts in Ulaanbaatar. The 300 million RMB in aid we receive in 2016 will be used to improve conditions at border crossings. Cabinet has not made a final decision on how the two billion RMB will be used.
You met with the administration of the International Monetary Fund, specifically Managing Director Christine Lagarde. What was discussed during that meeting?
Our delegation did meet with the administration of the IMF. Both sides expressed their positions and exchanged views on the program. The meeting of the IMF Executive Board to discuss enrollment in the extended fund facility is on May 24. Madame Lagarde will be chairing the meeting herself. The IMF has expressed interest in working with Mongolia. They expressed their confidence that the economy and macro economy will stabilize and that debt pressure will decrease if we work together closely. We are hopeful that the extended fund facility will be approved by the Executive Board on May 24.