Led by the Prime Minister, Mongolia is moving strongly to improve public services through e-governance systems. Since 2016, the Parliament has passed several laws that advance the digitalization of public services.
Mongolia has learned a lot from Estonia, which is a champion of e-governance. In 2019, the Parliament established the Standing Committee on Digital Development and Innovation to promote IT initiatives and encourage government agencies to move to digital transformation. The Ministry of Digital Development and Communications was also created to support the implementation of e-government. Another initiative was the launch of e-Academia, a research and training institution that promotes digital literacy among public servants and citizens. A national e-governance program features in Mongolia’s long-term development plan, VISION-2050.
In this context, Mongolia’s Ministry of Finance, with support from the World Bank and the European Commission, has launched several projects to advance e-governance. In the Treasury, web-based platforms that allow remote access to fiscal data were set up in 2016. These platforms enable users to register commitments and obligations, calculate and pay salaries, verify e-signatures and disbursement requests, and generate financial statements and TSA reports. Financial information is widely disclosed to the public, making use of the country’s plentiful IT networks and 3G, 4G mobile services.
Below is a summary of the main e-governance projects which either have been completed or are being implemented by the Treasury.
Registering commitments and obligations (in process): Detailed testing of this module of the government’s financial management information system (GFMIS) has been completed and is ready for use. The pilot project involved 36 budget entities in two line ministries, and the registration of commitments and obligations has started. The system was upgraded in cooperation with the GFMIS system developer, Freebalance.
Integrated payroll system (completed): The lack of detailed/integrated information on the staffing and salary structure of budget entities has been a major problem in the planning of public servants' payroll expenditures, which account for more than 20 percent of recurrent spending in the budget. Creating an integrated database of civil servants' payroll will increase the transparency of salary information, improve budget discipline, and provide a reliable data source for policy decisions on staffing and salaries across the government.
E-commerce (completion by 2024): Several online platforms (for example, http://www.emongolia.mn/, https://ebarimt.mn/) will provide a range of online and card payment facilities for customers to receive services and pay their bills without visiting government offices. The platforms are linked to the Treasury’s bank clearing system and the Bank of Mongolia.
E-payment (completion by 2025): Implementing this automated (web-based) system, which is part of the GFMIS, will support e-governance policies by eliminating paper-based payment procedures, reducing the time spent on processing payments, and broadening the tax base by centralising data with the Taxation Administration Integrated System (TAIS). The Electronic Transaction Verification Directory (ETVD) verifies treasury payments using a one-time password that ensures security and confidentiality. EVTD enables financial staff to make payments without making an in-person visit to the Treasury. The system is linked to other key government e-systems for personnel and payroll management, public investment management, and taxation.
E-Report (completed): Mongolia’s updated chart of accounts is aligned with international standards (IPSAS and the IMF’s Government Finance Statistics Manual, 2014) and allows financial statements to be prepared on an accrual basis. E-Report comprises several modules that enable the Treasury to consolidate financial statements of all budget entities by remote access. The Treasury’s consolidated financial statements for 2016-2020 and its budget execution reports were prepared using e-Report.
E-Learning (completed): The use of digital training was accelerated during the Covid-19 pandemic, using an e-learning platform (http://surgalt-ts.mof.gov.mn/) developed by the Treasury.
Enhancing citizens’ engagement and transparency (completion by 2023): The adoption of a new government accounting law (the “Glass Accounts Law”) in 2014 was aimed at increasing transparency, participation, and public oversight in the use of state and local government funds and assets. Since then, the government has been actively implementing several initiatives to improve public engagement on budgetary issues and fiscal transparency. An accounts portal (https://gap1.mof.gov.mn/learning), for example, gives the public plentiful access to information on public finances. The government launched its Citizens’ Budget Website (http://iltod.mof.gov.mn/) in 2021. The recently started “Budget your Future” campaign organizes events that facilitate public participation and promotes public use and understanding of budget data.