Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) President Richard Ngatia has urged Parliament to draft a policy to support local businesses to help them stay afloat, after devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.Ngatia, who appeared before the National Assembly Health Committee on Thursday, pleaded with the legislators to ensure that local entrepreneurs are always given the priority in any business venture spearheaded or launched by the government.

He emphasized that transparency in business management is key at all times, particularly now when the country is experiencing a major economic meltdown occasioned by the coronavirus pandemic.“I am seeking the protection of Parliament for the private sector today. Any foreign country will not be willing at the moment to come and invest in the country,” he said.

Ngatia, who is also the Managing Director of Megascope Company, denied claims of being involved in shady deals with the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA) in the supply of COVID-19 equipment. He defended his firm against claims that it was involved in the clearing of COVID-19 donations by the Jack Ma Foundation.“Megascope Health care limited has never been registered as a clearing agent of any sort and as such does not have the mandate to clear any consignments and we have never been engaged by any government agency nor KEMSA to clear any COVID-19 related consignment including the donations from Jack Ma,” he said.

The Transport Ministry has also dismissed reports in an NTV expose that Megascope was contracted to clear the Jack Ma donation.Ngatia has already filed a suit against Nation Media Group, whose television station NTV aired the expose dubbed COVID Millionaires.He warned that negative and false reporting was driving investors away and that the continued trend of painting private businesses as corrupt was scaring investors away.“In Rwanda, Uganda and Nigeria businesses are doing well because politicians and the media houses do not interfere with businesses because their involvement risks chasing investors away,” he said.