Kh.Battulga, Minister for Roads, Transport and Urban Development: shares his opinion on the current issues of his responsible sector.
Q: During the Standing Committee on Economy Meeting your sector in charge was quite criticized. Some MPs had negative comments on the resolution of the Government which approved itinerary of railways. Do you have any comments?
A: The main disagreement was on the initiative of building narrow gauge railway planned between Ukhaa Khudag – Gashuun Sukhait and Nariin Sukhait – Shivee Khuren is about to kick off within this year with funding of private investment. This resolution was made without procedural findings and comments of our Ministry. One thing I should state here is some MPs made good comments But policymaking takes much resource of capital and labour. Mongolia is landlocked and has only two neighbours. Therefore, only channel to cooperate and connect with the rest of the world is railway.
Q: Therefore, railway will be built to Gashuun Sukhait through Tavan Tolgoi, Oyu Tolgoi?
A: At any rate, we should build processing factory first. Only it will add value, leading salary increase to the public. If we export raw mineral, only few companies will get richer. It is pure lobby of private company. If private company builds railway, then who will set price or price will serve? How can we reach agreement with private companies? Such issues are needed to be considered.
Q: How many private companies are planning to build railways?
A: Tavan Tolgoi transports its coal through Gashuun Sukhait and Gants Mod. But the Chinese company builds road with capacity of 40-50 million tons annually. Therefore, if one road has such capacity, it will be totally dependent from foreign company. As for today, most of railway in Mongolia is built by Russians in 1949. Mongolia has over 1000 km wide gauge railways. We should continue of building wide gauge railway in the future.
Q: Railway transportation declined recent years. Do you agree with it?
A: Global economy downturn has affected us. Therefore, it is true that railway transport is under difficult condition. It hasn’t received any capital investment, park renewal, technological upgrade. Also its transport demand decreased by 3 times. Its loss was 28 billion MNT last year and it has debt of 38 billion MNT.
« Kh.Battulga, Minister for Roads, Transport and Urban Development: ₮650 thousand, planned by the Government is credit line. Minister D.Zorigt: First to finalize policy on infrastructure, then start talks with investors »