Health spending, illicit financial flows and tax incentives in Malawi

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This analysis examines the gaps in health care financing in Malawi and how foregone taxes could fill these gaps. It begins with an assessment of the disease burden and government health expenditure. Then it analyses the tax revenues foregone by the government of Malawi by two main routes • Illicit financial flows (IFF) from the country • Tax incentives. We find that there are significant financing gaps in the health sector; for example, government expenditure is United States Dollars (USD) 177 million for 2013/2014 while projected donor contribution in 2013/2014 is USD 207 million and the total cost for the minimal health package is USD 535 million. Thus the funding gap between the government budget for health and the required spending to provide the minimal package for 2013/2014 is USD 358 million. On the other hand we estimate that almost USD 400million is lost through IFF and corporate utilization of tax incentives each year. The revenues foregone plus the current government health spending would be sufficient to cover the minimal public health package for all Malawians and would help tackle Malawi’s disease burden. Every effort must be made, including improving transparency and revising laws, to curtail IFF and moderate tax incentives.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-137
Number of pages5
JournalMalawi Medical Journal
Issue number4
Early online date6 Sept 2014
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2014


  • Illicit financial flows
  • Health spending
  • Child mortality


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