Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Another Tax Load

Jargalsaikhan.D Economist.
email: djargal@yahoo.com  
Printed on July 28, 2009

A tax that enforces penalty fines for late taxes was approved a year ago in Mongolia. The penalty is 0.1 percent of the total tax amount per day of delay. The new loss payment will begin to be enforced this August. The fines will be set by the government every year from now on, and this year it is 0.06 percent of the due amount per day. No government officials have talked so far about this tax, and yet it is set by law. A tax authority executive warned on TV that since this payment in embedded into the software and no one can change it, the best way is to pay the total sum shown without argument. In any case, the taxpayers are expected to pay triple on a single tax. 
When the issue of tax collection comes up, our government performs brilliantly by innovating many procedures by adopting all possible new laws and regulations. You can really admire them for this. But when the issue of tax spending is raised, it is hard to find any evidence of efficiency. Taxpayers of Mongolia are unsatisfied with unwise spending of resources, non-transparency and the lack of accountability with the government.
Originally, the budget law covers both side of equity. It directs the way revenues are spent and specifies what money is allocated where. The spending part of the budget is always vague, but under the name of periodical “re-lightening of the budget”, it always becomes even more unclear. This practice has become a habit in our public governance in the last few years. The officials always tried for the best, but each year things were business as usual. 
Today, the single largest factor hindering Mongolian society’s progress is our own ever-growing government. It enforces tax collection from people, but never gives a clear report where those money go, and with what interest rates those funds are kept. Because of this unclear condition of public funds, corruption stems from the government walls. The government is keeping our development stalled instead of facilitating it. 
Though they put on serious and concerned faces for the Mongolian public, our politicians are more concerned with how to take the largest piece of the pie from the mineral wealth of the country. They work alone or with close allies and divide the remaining residuals to the people under attractive name tags: “Motherland Gift” by the Revolutionary Party, and “Rich Mongolian’s Share” by Democratic Party. They find it so easy to divide something that does not belong to them. No wonder the coalition government is surviving.
Ordinary people believed so much in the song the government is singing that some even try to make those “gifts” as collaterals for loans. In the old Mongolian saying, “a fox, which waits for the one under a bull to fall down will always dies of starving”.
This sort of irresponsible political campaigning competition by the ruling parties in Mongolia makes the Mongolian people believe in unrealistic, windfall incomes. They make the public believe that one shiny day will erase an individual’s responsibility for his or her own life, encouraging people to have more children, and to be poor instead of working. It also creates unhealthy measures of values in society.
The taxpayers of Mongolia, who are paying for the luxury consumptions of our officials (a separate healthcare system that flies them to Japan and Singapore for treatment), and for the education bills of their children (college education for one child of public officers are paid by government, here or abroad), are asking kindly for our government to make clearer the spending report of the budget. The level could be even one degree less (0.006 per night).  
We, the people of Mongolia want the government to do at least its basic duties: to protect property, people and freedom in exchange of ever-increasing tax burden.

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