Terror-hit Pakistan offers high insurance cover to foreign businesses

Pakistan will offer foreign businessmen insurance cover of up to USD 500,000 to attract investment in the face of widespread concerns over terrorist attacks that have contributed to a downturn in the economy.

The Commerce Ministry has finalised an agreement with the state-run National Insurance Company for comprehensive insurance coverage of foreign investors and businesspersons.

Commerce Secretary Munir Qureshi told Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf that the step was taken as 29 countries, including the US, members of the European Union and Australia, had issued "negative travel advisories" to their citizens travelling to Pakistan.

Insurance cover was either not available to foreign businesspersons in Pakistan or they had to pay a very high premium, Qureshi said.

The Commerce Ministry has made arrangements with the National Insurance Company to provide insurance cover to foreigners invited by Pakistani businessmen for business dealings, he said.

The National Insurance Company will offer foreign investors and businesspersons insurance cover ranging from USD 200,000 to 500,000 during their stay in Pakistan.

The government would ensure adequate security for the foreigners, Qureshi said.

"This step will remove a longstanding hurdle in the way of foreign investors who intend to visit Pakistan for business and investment, and encourage them to pour money into this country," Qureshi was quoted as saying in an official statement.

Officials said the Foreign Office had been asked send information about the insurance scheme to all Pakistani missions abroad to benefit foreign businessmen.

The premium for the insurance cover will range from USD 75 to USD 225 if a businessperson stays in Pakistan for a week.

In the event of death, the National Insurance Company will pay out the full compensation.

In case of injury, amounts ranging from USD 6,000 to 8,500 will be paid per week for medical treatment.

In a related development, Prime Minister Ashraf directed the Commerce Ministry to frame a proposal for establishing "Trade Dispute Resolution Councils" for resolving complaints lodged by importers of Pakistani goods.

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