Loan Agreement between Mongolia and AIIB approved

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Parliament passed a bill on ratification of the Loan Agreement between Mongolia and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) during its plenary session on Thursday.

The two sides signed a loan agreement for a COVID-19 vaccine delivery plan, approved with a 21 million USD soft loan from AIIB, on July 21, 2021.

Implemented under AIIB’s COVID-19 Crisis Recovery Facility, the Support for COVID-19 Vaccine Delivery in Mongolia Project will provide the government with immediate financing support to purchase safe and effective vaccines against COVID-19, contributing to the containment of the pandemic in the country and supporting its economic and social recovery.

Under the project plan, high-risk groups, including women, will be prioritized for access to COVID-19 vaccines. In addition, healthcare and non-healthcare employees will undergo training under the project.

Bill initiator and Minister of Finance B.Javkhlan noted that up to 50 percent of the funding will be used to purchase Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine from China.

“The loan has a 15-year repayment period. The grace period is three years, the discount rate is 27.9 percent, and the reserve guarantee fee is 0.25 percent. The loan agreement must be ratified,” he noted.

In connection with the bill, some lawmakers and officials expressed their views during the session. Minister of Health S.Enkhbold mentioned that the Asian Development Bank’s COVID-19 Response Project was launched in April 2020.

“Intensive care and emergency equipment to be supplied under the project has started to arrive. We distributed them to hospitals in 21 provinces and nine districts in Ulaanbaatar. A warehouse of bio-preparations and vaccines was put into operation last August with the bank’s funding. The necessary equipment is coming in stages. The implementation of the project is considered good,” the minister said.

Parliamentarian N.Altankhuyag emphasized, “I understand that the situation of COVID-19 infection is serious. But the loans we took in one year are worth over 1 billion USD. The government needs to use the money wisely. Vaccine policy needs to be clarified.”

There is enough money to fight against the pandemic, but infection mortality and morbidity have not decreased, lawmaker M.Oyunchimeg noted. Legislator B.Purevdorj said, “The introduction of substandard diagnostic equipment has reportedly led to an internal loss of infection. The government and Parliament are spending a lot of money to fight against the pandemic. These funds should be used to build the capacity of the health sector.”

Misheel Lkhasuren