Mongolia may have a reputation of a sparsely populated nomadic country, but the Mongolian government in increasingly adopting the technologies of the 21st century to reach and serve the people even in the furthest reaches of the steppe. Several major government agencies have implemented systems to provide services online with great success. Foreign investors are able to take advantage of these systems to make doing business in Mongolia more effective and efficient.
The tax authority is one example. In 2014 the tax authority implemented a new online tax filing and tax payment system. A digital signature issued by the tax office is required to access the online tax portal. An individual authorized by a company to sign financial statements and tax returns must apply for a digital signature in order to be able to access the online tax portal system. The online tax filing and tax payments have proven to be more cost and time saving. The social insurance office has taken inspiration from this system and is now also online.
Recently several government bodies, such as Ministry of Finance, Bank of Mongolia, General Tax Administration, National Transportation Department and others, have collaborated and launch a website www.smartcar.mn. Through this site vehicle owners, both individuals and organizations, can pay vehicle taxes, driver’s insurance payments, traffic tickets and receive other vehicle related services.
The General Authority for Intellectual Property and State Registration recently announced that they are in process of preparation and implementation of a “One citizen, one registration” project. According to officials, one of the main purposes of this project is to create a unified national registration database for ownership and property related information of natural personas and legal entities. This project aims to eliminate duplication and discrepancies in information over multiple platforms and create a unified national registration database. Such database is planned to accessible online both for internal access for government bodies as well as to general public with certain limitations. This project envisages the use of digital signatures by individuals to obtain online services from government bodies. Currently, digital signatures used only by legal entities for online tax filing and public tenders (bidding). While this project is in planning stages and has yet to be approved by the Government, we have high hopes for successful implementation. Officials claim that, if this project gets approved, this will decrease the amount of paperwork, will be cost and time saving both for general public and government bodies, government services will be easier, more accessible and closer to general public, and for foreign investors.
At such rate of increasing online government services, it looks like in coming years we should expect less bureaucracy and more accessibility from Mongolian government bodies, which should contribute to increasing economic activity in the developing nation.
According to Mongolian law, each Mongolian citizen is legally entitled to own a plot of land. Plot size allotted will be depending on the location, which a smaller plot available in Ulaanbaatar, and a larger plot (up to .05 hectares) available in more rural areas This ownership entitlement is a one-time opportunity granted by “The Law on Allocation of Land to Mongolian Citizens for Ownership”. But the opportunity is not forever and the period to apply for a free grant of land in accordance with the law expires on May 1st this year.
As the deadline is fast approaching, our Mongolian lawyers would like to offer some tips on the application process to Mongolian citizens who have not yet taken advantage of the land grant.
Firstly, citizens applying for the land grant must submit applications materials to the local governor or land development office. The Application requirements as set out by law require applicants to submit the following documentation and materials.
Citizens need to submit their application to the relevant local Governor or land department to acquire land for ownership for the purpose of family needs.
- notarized copies of birth certificates of family members who have not reached 16 years of age
- letter of confirmation by a Governor of khoroo or bag on the status of the family and number of its members;
- if land is possessed according to Law on Land, then copies of the land certificate to possess land or notarized copy of the land possession contract;
- an outlining map showing location and size of the land requested (if the land is to be owned on a shared basis among a group then an outlining map of every parcel belonging to each owner showing its size, location and boundary).
The local governor will review the application documentation and resolve the application within a period of 3 months from receiving the application. Usually the land is granted unless there are irregularities in the documentation. The land grant issued by the governor will indicate the plot’s location, boundaries, purpose, full name of the new owner, the owner’s identification number and birth certificate number for those who have not yet reached 16 years of age.
Based on the decision of Governor, the local Immovable Property Registration Office will register the land ownership status and will issue a registration certificate for immovable property reflecting ownership.
Mongolian Constitution has been in force for the last 25 years, dating from its adoption in 1992. It has been amended once in 1999 and again in 2001. It is the fourth Constitution of Mongolia since the first was adopted in 1924. Subsequent constitutions were put into place in 1940 and in 1960.
Mongolians today pay close attention to issues connected with the recent constitutional reform. A series of public consultations for Constitutional reform have been held in the Ulaanbaatar and in local aimags.
Several recommendations have been put forward for public discussion:
- maintaining the current balance of power between the legislature and the executive branches of government;
- strengthening the unity of the country;
- consolidating how local administration is structured;
- developing a professional, independent civil service;
- strengthening the judiciary to improve the legal structure; and
- creating a bicameral legislature that would include the State Great Hural and the State Congress. (Mongolians Discuss Constitutional Reform, supra.)
Taking the outcome of the public consultations into consideration, a consolidated proposal will be finalized and submitted to the parliament during the upcoming autumn session this year. However, the Democratic Party disagreed with this procedure and issued a statement demanding to hold a public referendum to hear voices of the people rather than organizing public consultations taking place in limited scope.
According to the Constitution, Constitutional amendments may be initiated by the President, members of the Parliament and the Government, as well as being proposed by the Constitutional Court to the parliament. A national referendum on constitutional amendment may be held where it is supported by at least two-thirds of the legislature. An amendment to the Constitution will have the same force as the Constitution when adopted by not less than three fourths of votes of all members of the parliament.
At the moment, the general public is encouraged to provide inputs to the proposed amendments. More information may be found at the following website: http://forum.parliament.mn/projects/171.
The Bank of Mongolia, signed a cooperation agreement on June 21, 2017 with the Bank of Korea. The agreement solidifies plans by both organizations to cooperation regarding development of a comprehensive strategy for development of the foreign exchange market in Mongolia.
The Bank of Korea has been conducting a study on Mongolia’s foreign exchange market. The results of the study are expected to have an important impact on development of foreign exchange regulations and growth of the foreign exchange market in Mongolia.
Major complaints about the current state of the foreign exchange market in Mongolia include the lack of transparency in the process and inefficient operations. The study will draw on the Bank of Korea’s past experience in managing foreign exchange issues in Korea to set out a road map for Mongolia.
The plan is expected to help stabilize the exchange rate of the Mongolian Tugrug, which will facilitate a better environment for foreign investment and domestic economic growth.