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Upgrading the legal environment of Mongolia

Posted: 4 December 2020

Mr Onolt Davaadorj was working at the Petroleum Authority of Mongolia as Senior Officer in Charge of Petroleum Products and cooperation in 2013, when he applied for an Australia Awards Scholarship. He was successful, and in 2014 commenced studying a Master of Management (Accounting) degree at The University of Melbourne. Onolt, a dedicated and hard-working student, added to his university experience during his second year, by taking on teaching tutorials for the Melbourne Business School (MBS) in the field of accounting. Onolt values his exposure to and experiences gained from the Australian education system because of the independent learning approach, and the close interactions between lecturers and students through workshops, tutorials, and group discussions.

Equipped with an in-depth understanding of risk management and analytical skills developed through his Australia Awards Scholarship, Onolt now serves as an Advisor to a Mongolian Parliament member, a position that directly deals with strategic planning and constitutional amendment proposals.

Onolt says that the Australian education system provides valuable space for improvement in skills such as self-learning and understanding a topic within a short period – both aspects that have strengthened his decision-making skills, a crucial part of his current role. Additionally, the soft skills he learned through group exercises while studying in Australia, have also been useful in his personal life.

I have become broad-minded, with increased communication and negotiation skills, and professional analysis at work; I am able to complete projects successfully. Thus, I am more than satisfied with the program that I did in Australia and its relevance to my work’, Onolt enthused.

During his Australia Awards supported study in Australia, Onolt was involved in the integration of Mongolian national petroleum companies under one contract with Rosneft (Russia’s biggest petroleum company), a task he worked at online from Australia and continued with on his return to Mongolia in 2016. Onolt’s contributions to this integration program assisted in achieving the final outcome – a stable market petrol price being established in Mongolia.

He has also been involved in amending Innovation Law; the amendment being approved by the Mongolian Parliament in December 2019. The new legislation redefined the terms and definitions of innovation, selecting priority sectors of innovation focussed on supporting innovative projects in regional areas, mandatory additional funding for innovation under government agencies, as well as IPO offerings for start-ups. More details can be found at: Innovation Law of Mongolia

Finally, Onolt worked on developing intellectual property law, which included aspects such as re-defining organisational structure, the definition of legal terms, intellectual property rights, common issues in establishing market equilibrium prices for intellectual property, processes to evaluate an intellectual property, and to provide discounts for private law firms which provide intellectual property services. The intellectual property law had been approved by the Mongolian Parliament in January 2020 and took effect on 1 December 2020. More details can be found at: Intellectual Property Law of Mongolia

Onolt noted, ‘I always review Australian law, regulations, and social practices before implementing activities.’

Onolt is working on a loophole in petroleum tax law at present, ‘Currently there is a special tax on gas products for gasoline and diesel fuel only. Therefore, people are producing naphtha-unqualified mixtures from other sources to avoid the tax, which is illegal’.

Onolt submitted several constitutional proposals that are to be discussed during the upcoming Autumn Session of Great State Khural 2020 (sitting of Mongolian Parliament). This includes work he has completed on a policy on pension reform targeting Mongolia’s young professionals, to enable them to have sufficient retirement savings under a defined contribution system, similar to the Australian Superannuation Guarantee/ Age Pension systems.  These reforms aim to shift future reliance in Mongolia away from the public pension system to individual savings.

Onolt has also worked with the World Bank for six-months on a project to make amendments to Insurance Law of Mongolia.

He said, ‘the current insurance law contains a rigorous process of making contracts. The process will be facilitated in the new legislation, and online contracting terms will be implemented to decrease the possibility of fraud. I used Australian law and regulation examples in terms of legal policy such as employment law – notably in any Australian employment contract the Australian law is written to notify every citizen of what privileges they have within the law and to make it mandatory’.

So far, Onolt Davaadorj’s contributions have been well-aligned with Mongolia Sustainable Development Vision objectives, Mongolia’s long-term plan for development. His advisory work fits within the objective of governance for sustainable development, by working for the development of stable state policies.