Pakistan is offering to insure foreign businessmen to attract overseas investment to a country where many have been killed by Taliban and Al-Qaeda-linked terrorism and sectarian violence according to officials, reports the AFP news service. Islamabad says more than 35,000 people have died as a result of terrorism in Pakistan since the 9/11 attacks on the US.
A number of countries, including Australia, the UK and the US, advise their citizens against non-essential travel to Pakistan and this makes insurance either unavailable or very expensive for individuals who wish to visit.
However, the Pakistani government hopes that offering insurance to foreigners invited to the country on business will help revive the flagging economy. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Pakistani central bank’s foreign exchange reserves declined to under US$10bn in October and the deficit, excluding grants, climbed to 8.5% of gross domestic product (GDP) last year.
“Any private or public entrepreneur inviting foreign businessmen or investors will now be responsible for providing insurance cover to their guests through the National Insurance Company (NIC),” said commerce ministry spokesman Abdul Kabir Kazi.
“We have launched the scheme immediately and asked the foreign office to dish out information about the scheme to all Pakistani missions abroad to benefit foreign investors and businessmen,” he told AFP.
Nazim Latif, pointman for the scheme, said businessmen can be insured for US$200,000, US$300,000 or US$500,000, depending on their length of stay. “The premium for the above products will be $75, $150 and $225 respectively if a buyer stays in Pakistan for a week; and $250, $350 and $500 for a stay beyond a month,” he told AFP. In the event of death, the NIC will pay out the full compensation and in case of injury, $6,000, $7,000 or $8,500 per week for medical treatment.
“Normally, foreigners hesitate to visit Pakistan in business deals because of the law and order situation in the country. We are introducing this scheme as a tool to offer them peace of mind when they come to our country,” Latif said.
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