Dulguun Bayarsaikhan, journalist, in The UB Post (December 24, 2020)
Summary by Alejandro Reyes (Photo credit: Byamba-ochir Byambasuren/ILO)
All policies carried out by developed, developing and emerging markets can be categorized into two main pillars: supporting households and citizens, and supporting businesses and keeping jobs. When the pandemic hit, the government leaned more towards supporting households, through increasing the child money allowance, improving food coupons and such. On the employment side, the government reduced the social security premium and assisted through unemployment support, which lasted till November. Although household support will continue through to the end of the presidential election in June 2021, there is not much policy targeting retainment of jobs, supporting businesses, and avoiding bankruptcies.
Unless the government addresses the missing pillar, a vicious cycle will harm the people and economy alike in the medium to long term. A cycle of poverty usually starts with unemployment as businesses shed employees or close doors, which concurrently pushes households into poverty as unemployed workers struggle to find a new job.
What is missing – money or political will? It cannot be true that there is no support to save businesses because politicians are such cowards and refuse to spend. If Mongolia is to become a country that propels children to compete on the world level in the near future, we must ensure that their parents at least have a secure job to facilitate that opportunity.
If ailing jobs and companies disappear, it will be at least few times more expensive to create new ones and, more importantly, it will take years to recover to levels prior to Covid-19. Meanwhile, the socio-economic costs will devastate not just the poor, but everyone except the super-rich. In seven months, our country may have a new president, prime minister, and minister of finance. For those seeking the top jobs of the country, one message: Do the right thing and do it now!