D.Sumiyabazar: During the visit, the Chinese side expressed willingness to support two major projects in Ulaanbaatar

2022-02-11 10:39:25

We asked the Governor of the Capital City and the Mayor of Ulaanbaatar D. Sumiyabazar to elaborate on the issues and solutions that were discussed during Prime Minister L. Oyun-Erdene’s working visit to the People’s Republic of China. 

-During the Prime Minister’s visit to the People’s Republic of China, what issues relating to Ulaanbaatar city were raised, and what conclusions were made?

-Ulaanbaatar city, home to nearly half of the country’s total population, is a big social and economic complex. So indeed, there is a multitude of problems that need to be resolved. During times of budgetary and financial difficulties, effective political decisions will drive development. The Prime Minister’s official working visit to PRC lasted for 5 days. The inclusion of city officials in the Prime Minister’s delegation is a sign that the Government of Mongolia is sincere in attaching great importance to Ulaanbaatar city, which makes up 50% of the total population.  

Ulaanbaatar's congestion is the most important issue that we are facing today. Therefore, in order to solve this problem the Prime Minister is paying close attention by establishing national committees, allocating MNT 420 billion to the capital city’s budget, thus supporting investment opportunities. Parliament has also supported Ulaanbaatar’s legal environment. Both Parliament and the Government expressing their utmost support for the capital city is an event on an international level. Even though the PRC conducted the Olympics during the pandemic, it was also a great opportunity for us as various Presidents, Prime Ministers, and officials from around the world gathered in one place. Our Prime Minister has seized this opportunity efficiently with good team coordination, thus achieving beneficial results. During this visit, two major projects from Ulaanbaatar city were discussed. One of the projects aims to implement a new form of public transportation in the city in which we have planned to introduce an elevated light rail train or LRT system. 

The Chinese side, including the National Development and Reform Commission, has expressed full support for the construction of a 50-kilometer-long three-line elevated mass transit project within five years.

Ulaanbaatar has only three emergency exits. In the event of an earthquake or other natural disasters, there is a danger that Ulaanbaatar residents will be stuck at the city border or on the streets. Therefore, we are planning to build a ring-shaped highway as a solution to protect the lives, well-being, and property of our citizens. The construction of a two-way highway with 3 lanes on each side was discussed during the visit.

What should we prioritize in order to ignite and keep the major projects going?

-A lot of it depends on us. Firstly, we must keep our word. Secondly, we have to have discipline. Thirdly, we must acknowledge the concept of mutually beneficial cooperation. In every interaction whether in business or a relationship, the interests of both parties play an inevitable role. 

Also, we must eliminate complex bureaucratic challenges and increase productivity. The only way we move forward is by getting rid of unnecessary government bureaucracy and corruption. The Prime Minister's New Revival policy will focus on improving the government’s productivity and supporting the private sector. Since this plan was talked about for many years without any progress, people may be skeptical. But we must do it. Implying that the government should only make the key arrangements and not participate in smaller matters. As a result, jobs will be created with the duty and participation of many companies, and the economic opportunities of the private sector will expand.

-Citizens criticize the fact that many projects and programs are initiated to reduce congestion in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar, but they soon disappear. You said, one of the issues discussed during the visit was the light train. How realistic is the project to build a 50-kilometer-long light rail line in three directions in the span of five years?

-We have been talking about the planned projects and activities to be implemented in Ulaanbaatar for many years. During E. Bat-Uul's administration, the work went well for a while, but they probably needed a more organized and coordinated approach. In other words, the Parliament and the Government did not provide enough support for them to succeed. However, it is advantageous for us today as this problem is no longer present with the MPP in leadership. Especially now, with Parliament and the Government showing full support in dealing with Ulaanbaatar’s issues. So in order to fulfill our promise and receive the financial support needed, in approaching any project and programs, we must make sure to implement the feasibility report accurately. I would like to highlight a few things that have been done over the past year. The Parliament has provided core support in creating a better legal system and helped take a fundamental step towards making Ulaanbaatar an independent economy. Regarding the budget and finance, the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance have decided to allocate 420 billion MNT t to the city. These domestic arrangements are sure to attract large foreign organizations. In particular, financial institutions around the world are offering direct loans to Ulaanbaatar. All this attributes to setting our core and legal values properly. During the visit to China, we proposed to organize our projects and programs in the form of direct investment and the form of international partnerships to jointly build the projects. By doing so, we are confident that we will be able to reduce congestion as promised to our citizens and implement the decentralization projects and programs on time.

The first test of a light-rail train will be conducted in 2024. And also, the construction of a highway will be initiated. Feasibility study and blueprints of the Tuul highway have been completed, which is one of the projects that are ready for implementation. So, we have officially proposed to China to implement these two projects within five years. The relevant parties are currently in the negotiation stage. I believe we can complete these projects.