Government Ministries


A ministry in a Commonwealth country, as in most parts of the world, is a department or a collective of departments specialising in the administration of certain sectors of government. Key ministries within most countries include those working in foreign affairs, home affairs, defence, health, education, finance, industry and trade. Ministries in the Commonwealth are headed by a political appointee styled as ‘minister’ or ‘minister of state’ in a majority of the countries, and ‘secretary of state’ or just ‘secretary’ in a few others. Most ministers or secretaries of state are members of parliament, lords (UK only) or senators belonging to the ruling party or coalition. In some countries where there is an executive president, ordinary citizens without political office can also be ministers.

 ‘Permanent secretary’ is the title given to the civil (or public) service administrative head for each ministry in most Commonwealth countries, a non-political appointee. Exceptions of how administrative heads of ministries are entitled include ‘director-general’ (in Ghana and South Africa), ‘deputy minister’ (Canada), ‘chief executive officer’ (New Zealand and Nauru), ‘secretary’ (Pakistan, Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka), ‘principal secretary’ (Lesotho, Malawi and Swaziland), ‘secretary-general’ (Cameroon and Malaysia) and ‘departmental secretary’ (Australia).

Select a Country:
Antigua and Barbuda Australia The Bahamas
Bangladesh Barbados Belize
Botswana Brunei Darussalam Cameroon
Canada Cyprus Dominica
Fiji Ghana Grenada
Guyana India Jamaica
Kenya Kiribati Lesotho
Malawi Malaysia Malta
Mauritius Mozambique Namibia
Nauru New Zealand Nigeria
Pakistan Papua New Guinea Rwanda
Saint Lucia Samoa Seychelles
Sierra Leone Singapore Solomon Islands
South Africa Sri Lanka St Kitts and Nevis
St Vincent and The Grenadines Swaziland Tonga
Trinidad and Tobago Tuvalu Uganda
United Kingdom United Republic of Tanzania Vanuatu