Brazil's government on Thursday announced 44 billion reais ($18.41 billion) in spending cuts as it seeks to meet its primary budget surplus target for 2014.

This year's cuts exceed the 38 billion reais (some $15.9 billion) in budget reductions announced in 2013 and extend to all government departments except education, health, social development, and science and technology.

The primary surplus target for 2014 has been set at 99 billion reais (some $41.4 billion), equivalent to 1.9 percent of gross domestic product, Finance Minister Guido Mantega and Planning Minister Miriam Belchior said at a press conference.

Last year's primary surplus target was also 1.9 percent of GDP.

The budget cuts are aimed at achieving "fiscal consolidation," which will help lower inflation and support sustained GDP growth, Mantega said.

He estimated the economy would expand by 2.5 percent in 2014, while private sector economists predict growth of 1.79 percent.

"Although the global economy is recovering, this recovery remains slow, slower than what the market is forecasting," Mantega said.

Brazil uses the primary surplus - public sector revenue over expenditures, excluding interest payments on outstanding debt - as a reference of its public accounts and its commitment to generating the savings needed to make capital and interest debt payments. EFE