The Ministry of Finance carries out its functions through several major departments, including:
- Department for public revenue, which contains the tax directorates, public revenue section and a central strategy office
- Financial affairs department, containing the budget directory, the treasury, the financial systems directorate and the projects directorate
- Economic affairs department, containing the research department, the government investment directorate, the privatisation and outsourcing department and the external economic relations department
- Resources and information department, comprising the financial information directorate, human and financial resources directorate, the government properties directorate and the training and development section.
There are also offices for audit and follow-up, legal affairs, quality management and operations coordination. A separate office, the Future Generations Reserve Council, reports directly to the minister.
One of the ministrys key roles is the distribution of the $10bn financial aid package that Bahrain has been allocated from the GCC. The money will be invested in housing, electricity, water and social development projects.
In terms of priorities for the ministry, it currently has two major projects under way. The first is to roll out an electronic procurement system, including a central procurement function, at the ministry. The second is to set up a national payment system that allows a single payment solution across all government services.
It is not surprising that Bahrain has embraced electronic infrastructure. It has one of the most well developed financial sectors in the Middle East and this is overseen by the Central Bank of Bahrain. The country has a diversified range of conventional and Islamic finance institutions, including retail, specialised and wholesale banks, insurance companies, investment firms, money changers, securities brokers and fund managers. In 2012, the sector accounted for 17 per cent of gross domestic product. The Bahrain Stock Exchange, known as the Bahrain Bourse, currently has 47 listed companies trading.
Ministry of Finance
Minister: Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed al-Khalifa
Tel: (+973) 1 757 5000
Largest listed companies on The Bahrain Bourse*
- Ahli United Bank
- Aluminium Bahrain
- National Bank of Bahrain
- Arab Banking Corporation
*=Ranked by market capitalisation, December 2013. Source: MEED