Sharjah : Sharjah Finance Department on Wednesday announced its credit ratings for the Government of Sharjah based on the classification of the two leading international credit rating agencies, Moody's and Standard & Poor's. While Moody's has assigned Sharjah a long-term rating of A3, with a stable outlook, Standard & Poor's has assigned Sharjah a long-term rating of A, also with a stable outlook. In both cases, Sharjah is rated as a sovereign government entity. The department said that the rating has been assigned predicting better investments and business opportunities across the emirate. "This credit rating exercise is the first that the Government of Sharjah has undertaken. The ratings will strengthen our position as we embrace the economic opportunities and challenges of the future," Shaikh Mohammad Saud Al Qasimi , Chairman of Sharjah Finance Department and Member of the Sharjah Executive Council , said. "These credit ratings firmly establish Sharjah among top sovereigns globally, affirming our position as a leading investment destination," he added. This classification reflects the best of Sharjah financial and business status as well as proves the economic stability and growth potential across the emirate, according to Shaikh Al Qasimi . Waleed Al Sayegh , Director General of Sharjah Finance Department , said that this rating will enhance the business environment, increase the flow of investment to the emirate as well as will ease the financing process. "Credit rating will help demonstrate that Sharjah is a modern, open state, managing its finances in line with international best practice," he said, adding that it will also "open Sharjah up to new investors and give confidence to existing ones, reduce the cost of borrowing for the emirate and strengthen entities in the wider Sharjah public and private sectors". Meanwhile, despite the impact of the global economic crisis on the overall economy, the nominal GDP (gross domestic product) of Sharjah witnessed strong and steady growth at an average of 11 per cent from 2001 to 2012. "This economic stability is the result of the diversified economy that Sharjah enjoys," Al Qasimi said. According to the emirate's finance department, all business sectors have almost equal contribution to Sharjah's GDP and and in the financial year 2012 no individual sector represented more than 20 per cent of the GDP. Economic growth has been spread across a wide range of sectors, The manufacturing sector is one of the most significant in the region, supported by 19 industrial zones and two thriving free zones. Natural geographic advantages through world-class infrastructure, business-friendly environment and financial strength are additional factors contributing to Sharjah's economic growth, Al Qasimi said. The Department of Finance said that Sharjah's strong government finances hold its public debt very low, with the government's gross debt standing at less than six per cent of GDP at the end of 2012, offset by shareholdings in listed companies worth 2.7 per cent of the GDP.
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