2024 Capital city budget approved

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At the regular meeting of Ulaanbaatar City Council this week, the 2024 capital city budget was approved. The next year’s budget of the capital city will be 2.6 trillion MNT. This is an increase of 652.8 billion MNT from the approved plan for 2023. As for budget expenditure, 1.1 trillion MNT will be spent on operational expenses. This is 46.3 percent of the total expenditure. But 964.8 billion MNT will be used for capital expenditure, 85.2 billion MNT for loan repayment, and 0.3 percent for financial support of two districts.

According to the estimates of the 2024 budget, 93.1 percent (2.42 trillion MNT) of the capital city’s budget revenue will be made up of tax revenue, and the remaining 6.9 percent will be made up of non-tax revenue. 2024 Capital City budget consists of the budget of the city and the nine districts. Considering the budget revenue generated by the city and districts, the direct budget of the city will bring in 884.8 billion MNT (34 percent of budget revenue), which can be spent as it comes. On the other hand, about 1.7 trillion MNT (66 percent of budget revenue) revenue is estimated to be collected from the districts.

Regarding the approved budget, First Deputy of the Capital City Governor in charge of economic and infrastructure issues, P.Sainzorig clarified information and answered some questions. He said, “The budget provides for the establishment of basic infrastructure to solve the problems of Ulaanbaatar City. For example, the construction of Selbe and Bayankhoshuu sub-centers will be intensified. Priority will be given to apartment development of the ger district around the sub-centers. Secondly, within the policy of increasing the quality and availability of public transportation and developing high-capacity public transportation, the selection of subway feasibility study, blueprint and management consulting services will be held. Also, about 28 billion MNT was allocated in this year’s budget amendment to increase access to kindergartens and schools, and about 91 billion MNT has been budgeted for 2024. In addition, funds were allocated for the improvement and repair of cafeterias in 42 schools.”

He informed that the cost of building the first subway line will be determined by the selection of metro consulting services, feasibility study and blueprint. The next selection process will be held after the government guarantees a certain amount of funds. Over 77 billion MNT is included in the expansion of the capital’s main road and the construction of hard-paved roads connecting ger district. Next year’s budget is aimed at infrastructure development of Ulaanbaatar. About 20,000-25,000 new jobs will be created if the construction work of Selbe and Bayankhoshuu sub-centers can start. Also, all the works that have been implemented in the past years will be completed at about 70 percent. In addition, 80 billion MNT was allocated to place surveillance cameras all over Ulaanbaatar.

The capital city tax was raised to two percent. In connection with it, P.Sainzorig informed, “In 2021, the Law on the Legal Status of Ulaanbaatar City was amended and the City Council decided to increase the tax from one percent to two percent. Municipal tax is collected from two types of goods: alcohol and tobacco retail, and six types of service providers: hotels, resorts, restaurants, bars, car washes and car service providers. 16 billion MNT is collected from city taxes. By adding the tax, 32 billion MNT will be generated, which will be spent on infrastructure, development, and increasing access to schools and kindergartens. In addition, pedestrian and bicycle lanes will increase. For example, a pedestrian bridge will be built to connect “Narnii khoroolol” with Sun road. Based on Selbe and Bayankhoshuu sub-centers, we aim to reduce air pollution and traffic congestion by about 30 percent by moving ger district to apartments and implementing related projects and programs.”

He further informed that about 24 billion MNT will be spent to increase flood facilities. Flood structures cannot be solved by state and local budget investments alone. Therefore, we are talking with international organizations. Over 70 percent of Ulaanbaatar’s utility lines have exceeded their service life. Also, due to the lack of coordination between the organizations for the use and protection of these, they have been left in the middle and have no owner to take responsibility.
Therefore, according to the order of the Governor of the Capital City, working groups will be created and these will be solved comprehensively. Preliminary feasibility studies were done in 2009 and 2016. However, the situation in Ulaanbaatar has changed a lot since then. There are two sets of work: subway management consultancy and blueprint. It will need much research. Geological and water exploration drilling will be carried out. He said, “If the feasibility study and blueprint are done correctly, the right investment will be raised, and the cost will be decided. The reason for the failure of the invest-
ment is due to the fact that the preliminary design is not done, and the preliminary feasibility study is developed with too much imagination. When it comes to implementation, there are no documents such as building plans.”

He lastly commented, “37 billion is set for distribution of electric heaters. To reduce the number of chimneys by 20,000, 5,000 houses and 15,000 homes will receive electric heaters. We are distributing in locations where the problem of voltage drop has been completely solved. Double-burner stoves are also being investigated. Since the beginning of the year, 59 people have died due to smoke inhalation. The conclusion of the relevant organizations is that the quality of the stove and the emission of smoke are high. Therefore, to not repeat the previous mistakes, we are studying this issue, signing a responsibility contract with citizens, and studying to provide stoves. Behind this is the issue of human life. A medium-term policy to reduce pollution is to increase apartments, energy, and heat sources.”

Amarjargal Munkhbat

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