Probe into salaries at Dutch aid organisations

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Caretaker Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen has ordered an investigation of executive salaries at over 100 Dutch organisations involved in development aid. The move follows a row earlier this year about the size of the salaries earned by the directors of the development organisation SNV and the Dutch branch of the Red Cross.

The Red Cross has since reduced its director's salary but SNV says director Dirk Elsen's 160,00 euros a year is "reasonable and fitting" for the work he does and is refusing to budge.

Employees of aid organisations are currently not allow to earn more than around 120,000 euros a year. If they do, their government subsidies can be reduced.

The investigation by the foreign ministry will be limited to Dutch organisations which received at least half a million euros in subsidy last year. It is expected to be completed by the end of September.

A comparative investigation of top salaries was requested by the Socialist Party. Socialist MP Ewout Irrgang commented: " nothing is as damaging for the image of development aid as the smell of mega-salaries and the impression of money going to waste."


© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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