The government has been forking out almost a quarter of a million euros every year in payments to credit rating agencies, it has emerged.

According to figures tabled in parliament by Finance Minister Edward Scicluna on Wednesday afternoon, in reply to a question by PN MP Jason Azzopardi, in 2018, the government paid such agencies a total €237,502.

The figure is slightly lower than that of the previous two years, when the government had forked out €248,697 and €243,883 in such payments.

The data supplied, which dates back to 2013, also shows that the Labour government has been paying much more in recent years then it did when it first took to office six years ago.

In fact, in 2013, the government had only paid €76,119 to credit rating agencies, up to €126,576 in the following year.

The tabled information did not include details on the names of the agencies that the government had paid. According to Prof. Scicluna, Malta had been making such payments since 2000.

In recent years, the government has used the ratings by a number of such agencies, including those by world-renowned agencies like Fitch Ratings, DBRS, Moody’s and Standard and Poors, when speaking about Malta’s booming economy.

Credit rating agencies are independent companies that assign ratings that reflect the ability of a debtor to pay back debt. 

Agencies rate countries as well as private firms. Rating are either solicited or unsolicited, with agencies initiating them themselves. 

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