Prime Minister Oyun-Erdene Luvsannamsrai resurrected the Mongolian Economic Forum (MEF), which used to be held annually from 2010 until 2018. The forum is now back and was held on April 7-8. Originally designed as a Davos-type forum taking place in Q1 it allowed policymakers and businesses to come together and discuss major issues facing the country.
Photo of Prime Minister of Mongolia Oyun-Erdene Luvsannamsrai
This year’s MEF took place as Mongolia already spent significant public funds on pandemic stimulus and response.
The government seeks to recoup funds through increased taxes amid the economic slowdown.
Parliamentary Speaker Zandanshatar hinted it was time for introducing a progressive income tax, which has been attempted but then folded. The ruling Mongolian People’s Party (MPP) still needs to make good on their 2020 election promise, which specified “a system of high taxes on high incomes and low taxes on low incomes.”
2022 and 2023 are busy periods for legislative activity. The pace of regulatory and policy reforms is expected to gain more speed in view of the off-election season.
To that effect, the ruling party lawmakers met leaders of political parties without the parliamentary seats to consult on the review of the upcoming political/election campaign financing law.
The MEF opened up forward-looking thinking in policy circles in Ulaanbaatar. It focused on energy, border bottleneck, industrialization, rural development, green growth, and government reforms.
The underpinning agenda of Mongolian Economic Forum is Oyun Erdene’s New Revival Policy along with the Vision 2050.
But MEF’s 2022 agenda seems to be steering clear of discussion on mining, which is principal in making money in Mongolia. Nationalist sentiment and frustration over the government’s perceived inability to translate resource wealth into tangible benefits for the population persist.
Ending a dispute with Rio Tinto was a game changer and a major accomplishment by Oyun-Erdene. Now he’ll need to do more for building good relations and trust with international investors.
MEF in April and its follow-up actions are expected to be Oyun-Erdene’s road map for post-COVID economic recovery as the country is hobbled by rising inflation, oil prices, supply chain disruptions and border bottleneck.
With his super-majority control of the parliament for another two years, Oyun-Erdene is free to push any legislative change he wants.