Prison officers may see their promotion prospects fade as the Government's cost-cutting plans come into effect. Revealing the Correctional Services Department's Enhanced Productivity Programme yesterday, deputy commissioner Kelvin Pang Sung-yuen admitted guards would have to wait longer for promotion. A total of 61 posts have been axed this year, Mr Pang said, so the department could make a recurrent expenditure saving of $26 million - one per cent of its annual total spending. Stressing there would be no redundancies as the reduction would be achieved through natural wastage and redeployment, Mr Pang said the area most affected was the staff training institute, where only 77 posts remain out of 115. 'We have reassessed the training needs, putting our focus on core-competence and specific training,' he said. The department expects to hire fewer recruits in the next three to five years, so training courses for newcomers will be cut. Mr Pang refused to give details of productivity programmes for the 2001 and 2002 financial years. 'The focus will be on high and medium-security prisons,' he said. Government departments are expected to make recurrent-spending savings of five per cent within three years. This means the department must cut annual spending by $130 million by 2002. Stephen Wong Wai-hung, chairman of the prison guards' union, said the department could only make savings by cutting back. 'Not only ours, but most of the departments' staff salaries constitute 80 to 90 per cent of total spending. It's hard to save any money by cutting other expenses. 'The workload will be magnified while the chance of promotion will be slim. However, the department has done a good job in consulting us for our opinions,' Mr Wong said.