Slovakia's fiscal deficit fell to 2.04% of gross domestic product (GDP) last year, less than half of nearly 5% planned by the government, the statistics office said on Thursday in a semi-annual note to the European Union's statistics body.

The office said the euro zone country's public sector deficit dropped to 2.23 billion euros ($2.44 billion) from 5.45 billion euros in 2021, which was 5.43% of GDP.

"The absolute majority of last year's deficit was created by the central government recording a deficit of 1.95 billion euros," the statistics office said.

This was however far below the 4.53 billion euros cash deficit reported in January by the Finance Ministry for the central government balance, which forms the bulk of public sector finances.

The difference in the central government balance in the two reports, which use different methodologies, was the main cause for the sharply lower overall public sector figure reported on Thursday.

The statistics office said a 500 million-euro capital injection into state gas trading company SPP was not accounted for as part of the deficit in the Thursday report.

The office also said it had also incorporated changes on accrual taxes, income from telephone licences, as well as methodological changes related to value-added tax paid in investment projects supplied and operated by private contractors.

It said the end of COVID-19 aid helped the public sector balance last year.

The Finance Ministry separately said that a revision in nominal gross domestic product improved the deficit number in relation to economic output.

It said an additional reason was a difference in the way some military spending is accounted for. A cash outlay last year for equipment to be delivered later shows in the cash statistic and not in the report on Thursday.

Government debt dropped to 57.8% of GDP last year from 61% in 2021, the statistics office said.

This year's budget plan expects a 6.44% deficit compared with GDP as the government spends on aid to households and firms to cover energy prices. ($1 = 0.9130 euros) (Reporting by Jan Lopatka in Prague)