About 1,500 provincial officials will lose their 'iron rice bowl' jobs this year in Guangxi, Deputy Party Secretary Ma Qingsheng has said. Mr Ma said the streamlining would be included in a proposal to be submitted to the central Government for approval next month. The job reductions would represent a 25 per cent cut to the provincial Government, which currently has about 5,900 civil servants on its payroll. Under the proposal, another 200 junior officials would be recommended to universities for post-graduate studies and 50 others would be sent abroad for further education. In addition, the number of provincial government departments would be reduced from 59 to 41. The deputy secretary said that as 10 per cent of Guangxi's government jobs had been left vacant, the provincial Government would only need to reduce its positions by 40 per cent. Under a plan announced by Premier Zhu Rongji in 1997, the central Government is to carry out a streamlining exercise to cut government jobs by 50 per cent in three years. Provincial governments have been told to carry out similar reductions in staff numbers during the same period.