Mongolia officially launched its participation in the Opening Extractives programme. The hybrid event, which was attended by more than 30 in-person and online participants, comes off the heels of a new law on disclosure of public information that became effective this month. The law requires companies to disclose beneficial ownership information, including all beneficial owners of legal entities.
Company ownership is a matter of public interest for Mongolia’s mining sector, which plays an important role in the country’s economy. The sector – which is mainly centred around gold, copper, coal and iron – accounted for 21.6% of Mongolia’s GDP, 57% of total industrial production, 42% of total investments and 26% of the national budget revenue in 2020. Mongolia also has a small oil and gas sector however these resources remain largely underdeveloped.
Ms. Erdenechimeg, Governance Manager at Open Society Forum, pointed out that while beneficial ownership data is disclosed in Mongolia, there is need for more transparency and adherence to the recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and the EITI Standard. She further emphasised that beneficial ownership transparency helps to prevent conflicts of interest and can help ensure compliance with anti-corruption requirements. The Opening Extractives programme would help Mongolia’s government to improve the availability and use of beneficial ownership data for effective governance in the country’s extractive sector.
On behalf of the State Secretary of the Mongolian Ministry of Mining and Heavy Industry (MMHI) and Head of the Mongolia EITI Multi-Stakeholder Group, Mr. Batbold, Chief of Research and Investment Department, remarked that Mongolia has made strides in beneficial ownership. The General Authority for State Registration (GASR) system has been used to implement a legal requirement for all companies to identify and report their beneficial owners in 2020. He further highlighted that the programme would assist in raising beneficial ownership awareness for government agencies, civil society and companies to access comprehensive and reliable information on the ultimate owners of extractive industry companies. Publishing information on beneficial ownership would support responsible investment in Mongolia and increase trust and accountability for citizens and governments.
The open panel discussion during the launch gave a platform for Mongolia government ministries, civil society and company representatives to discuss on how the programme can be effective for beneficial ownership transparency in the country. Representatives from the MMHI, the General Department of Taxation (GDT), Mongolian National Audit Office (MNAO) and civil society groups – including the Publish What You Pay Coalition and Transparency International – gave insights on how the programme can assist in the collective efforts of government, civil society and industry stakeholders through data use initiatives to enhance beneficial ownership transparency and the contribution of the programme in strengthening natural resource governance.
As next steps after the official launch of the programme, Mr. Batbold emphasised the need for Mongolia to implement its beneficial ownership roadmap and strengthen stakeholder engagement and coordination on legislative matters, data collection, due diligence, and public oversight of beneficial ownership in the extractive sector.