Donation campaign launched in Mongolia to help ease public debt

A campaign calling for contributing to ease the government's mounting debt pressure is surging in Mongolia, as some wealthy citizens on Tuesday vowed to donate money to help the government tide over the difficult situation.
The campaign was initiated by B. Osorgarav, a local economist who appealed to all Mongolians and businesses to make cash donation for the repayment of foreign debt, among which a 580-million-U.S.-dollar loan is due on March 21.
Osorgarav donated 10 million tugrug (4,060 dollars), a gold ring, and 10 horses.
Delgersaikhan Borkhuu, owner of an iron ore mine and lawmaker from ruling Mongolian People's Party said on Tuesday he will donate 100 million tugrug (40,600 dollars).
He also urged other lawmakers and companies to follow suit.
"Monnis Group," a company specialized in re-sale of heavy mining equipment, pledged to donate 100 million tugrug (40,600 dollars), while Baterdene Dashdemberel, a wealthy coal miner, promised to donate 30,000 dollars.
On Tuesday, Mongolian Prime Minister Jargaltulga Erdenebat received Osorgarav and thanked him for his initiative to help the government ease the debt pressure, saying "Mongolia will pay the debt on time, fully and overcome the crisis.
"Parliament and government and other officials are working together for this goal. I appreciate your patriotism and initiative," he said.
Osorgarav pledged to continue to push the public donation campaign and meet with businesses and non-governmental organizations to raise funds for debt payment.
To pay the 580-million-dollar loan, the Mongolian government said it has set aside 200 million dollars out of its budget for this loan repayment and hopes to borrow the rest from other countries and financial institutions.
Currently, the Mongolian government is negotiating with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on a possible loan package, hoping to obtain 400 million dollars to 450 million dollars from the IMF.
Meanwhile, Mongolia faces another deadline in March 2018 to repay a debt of another 500 million dollars. Analysts said the Mongolian government has to borrow from other countries or institutions to help repay its foreign debt.
Mongolia's economy is now in midst of a severe economic crisis due to global commodity market downturn. Mongolia's economy heavily relies on coal and copper exports, which account for more than 86 percent of its total exports.
Some Mongolians did not applaud the public donation drive. Local economist Batsuuri Halta said the donation campaign attempted to hide the actual cause of the country's economic crisis.
Many economists said Mongolia needs to diversify its economy and reduce its dependence on the mining sector. Endi

Source:Xinhua news agency
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