Finance Minister rubbishes suggestion that positive credit ratings linked to payment

The minister said the country was using more rating agencies than it used to in 2013, insisting that positive ratings were just a mirror of reality

Finance Minister Edward Scicluna rubbished suggestions that Malta's positive credit ratings were linked to payments to agencies
Finance Minister Edward Scicluna rubbished suggestions that Malta's positive credit ratings were linked to payments to agencies

Finance Minister Edward Scicluna has rubbished suggestions that positive credit ratings obtained by Malta in recent years were somehow linked to payments to the agencies.

Last week, Nationalist MP Jason Azzopardi asked the minister how much had been paid out to credit rating agencies since 2013, with Scicluna replying that the total amount paid had increased from €76,119 in 2013 to €237,502 in 2018.

“It is shameful to say that Malta’s ratings are what they are because the country is paying them…when the outlook was negative we still paid them,” Scicluna said in his reply to a question by government whip Byron Camilleri. 

The minister pointed out that back in 2013, Malta used three US agencies - Moody’s, Fitch and Standard and Poors. As of 2015, Scicluna said that Malta had also started to use other agencies including the Canadian DBRS, and German agencies Scope Ratings and Creditreform.

This, he said, was in line with a recommendation by Brussels for member states to use other agencies in addition to the three US-based ones.

“These things are factual,” Scicluna said, adding that all countries used the services of such agencies. “The aim is simply to gauge how able the country is to pay off the debt it has incurred.”

Scicluna said that credit ratings were nothing but a “mirror confirming what the government and families were already saying and confirms it scientifically and in a way that allows comparisons between countries”.

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