Government current revenues derive from import duties, income taxes on companies and individuals, income from government enterprises, excise duties, licenses, and value-added taxes. The fiscal year runs from 1 April to 31 March. Government consumption, which had an average annual growth rate of 7.0% during the 1980s, declined by 4.0% annually during the 1990s, and by 9.5% in 1998. Education, health, and agriculture were the three biggest items on the budget for 2000.
The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) estimates that in 1999/2000 Malawi's central government took in revenues of approximately $490 million and had expenditures of $523 million. Overall, the government registered a deficit of approximately $33 million. External debt totaled $2.8 billion.