SAO PAULO, March 22 (Reuters) - The Brazilian government will freeze an additional 21.2 billion reais ($5.9 billion) in expenditures from this year's federal budget, the Finance and Budget and Planning Ministries said on Tuesday, as the harshest recession in decades hampers tax collections.
In a joint report, the ministries said that the amount of budget spending being withheld so far this year totals 44.6 billion reais. The government is expecting the economy will shrink 3.05 percent this year, above a prior estimate of 2.94 percent.
The government has targeted a consolidated primary surplus, or excess revenue prior to interest debt payments at all levels of government, of 0.5 percent of gross domestic product. ($1 = 3.5819 Brazilian reais) (Reporting by Guillermo Parra-Bernal and Flavia Bohone, editing by G Crosse)