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Equity Bank Chief Commercial Officer Polycarp Igathe joins the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) Presidential candidate Richard Ngatia and his wife when he launched his manifesto at the (KICC). [George Orido/Standard]
Equity Bank has pledged funds for a candidate running for a position in the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) to provide cheaper loans to small businesses.

Richard Ngatia, who launched his manifesto yesterday, received the financial undertaking from Equity's Chief Commercial Officer Polycarp Igathe.  

Mr Ngatia, who is eyeing the position of president at KNCCI, proposed to start a financing facility within the chamber so that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) could find cheaper and affordable financing for their business.

“Apart from endorsing Ngatia, we, as a bank, have decided to pull out of the Government Treasury Bills and instead put this money to the fund as envisaged by him,” Mr Igathe said.

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In his manifesto, Ngatia has also pledged to lobby the Government to pay SMEs within 90 days of invoicing and campaign to have it put into law.

“I will advocate fair trade with our neigbours and help solve cross-border conflicts and ensure our fishermen are not harassed," he said.

The businessman has also promised to initiate a diplomatic dinner twice a year, where key foreign contacts and envoys with the ability to unlock opportunities in business are hosted.

While seeking support for Ngatia, former US ambassador to Kenya Michael Ranneberger said the businessman understood business diplomacy.

“You know I married a Kenyan and I'm in business also. My interactions with Mr Ngatia has been invaluable,” said Mr Ranneberger.

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Trade imbalances

Ngatia condemned the many trade imbalances and promised to advocate increased exports and discourage import of non-essential goods that stifle creativity, enterprise and job creation.

Noting that there were too many taxes and fees across counties, Ngatia proposed a free trade regime between counties to boost trade, create jobs and ensure prosperity.

He pledged to develop an affirmative fund and guidelines in favour of Arid and Semi-arid Lands, women, youth and persons living with disability.

“In Ngatia, we see someone who understands us and will make steps to have pastoralists included in structured business and help us access funds,” said David Mbatiany, the newly-elected Narok Chapter chairman and who represents Kajiado, Samburu, Laikipia and Narok counties.

Those that endorsed Ngatia's candidacy included the Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa.

“You have our confidence and trust that with you as president, Government and business people will have a better working relationship,” said Mr Wamalwa.

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