Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has hailed the upgrading of Malta’s credit rating by Fitch as a testament to the government’s “strong economic strategy”.

In a brief telephone interview on One Radio today, Dr Muscat said the news would help to increase foreign investment while giving the government the confidence to introduce its first batch of electoral pledges.

International rating agency Fitch announced yesterday that it had upgraded Malta’s long-term rating to 'A+' with a stable outlook, noting that the country was fast reducing its debt and increasing its GDP.

Malta’s return to the 'A+' category comes just under four years after Fitch had downgraded the country to 'A', with the agency having cited significant fiscal slippage as the reason for the September 2013 downgrade.

“These agencies aren’t interested in what political parties or newspapers say,” Dr Muscat said. “They look at the facts, they have independent analysts, and they have reached the conclusion that the way this government has run the country’s finances gives them the confidence to raise the rating.”

The result, Dr Muscat said, was part of a strong economic strategy which included manufacturing, gaming and financial services.

Despite warnings by the Opposition before the general election that the gaming sector was hanging by a thread, he added, more companies had shown an interest in investing in Malta in recent months.

“This, of course, brings with it challenges, particularly rent and housing,” Dr Muscat said.

“This week we gave the first indications of what we have planned for the next Budget, with new schemes to ensure more available housing. This confirmation from international agencies ensures we can go further and introduce the first batch of proposals from our manifesto and make a difference in people’s lives.”

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