INDUSTRIALIZATION IN TRINIDAD & TOBAGO SINCE 1950

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Prior to 1950 there was not much in the way of manufacturing in the economy. There was the inevitable processing of raw materials for exports, principally sugar, rum, petroleum products and pitch, and a few residentiary industries producing items such as ice, bread and cakes and certain types of clothing Almost everything else was imported.

Shortages created by the war encouraged the local production of more food and of some manufactures. The output of edible oils and fats matches and some textile products saw significant increases. The cessation of the war, however, brought increased competition from imports. In an attempt to stimulate secondary industries, the Government in 19 48, set up an Economic Advisory Board to explore the possibilities and since then, there have been attempts to establish a genuine manufacturing sector. In 1950, the Aid to Pioneer Industries Ordinance was passed. This law laid down the industrialization policy which has since been pursued.

The policy is similar to that adopted by the other Caribbean countries and was best articulated in Lewis’ “Industrialization in the British West Indies”. In essence, it posits that the way to develop a manufacturing sector in a small country is to attract metropolitan business which brings not only capital, but also technology, organization and market connections. In addition it was hoped that such industry would use some local raw materials. In exchange for creating employment, generating local income, and earning foreign e change, the industrialists were to be offered a period free from income tax, duty rebate s on their imports of equipment, machinery and raw materials, accelerated depreciation allowances, subsidized industrial sites provisioned with water and elec¬≠tricity, and the services of an I.D.C.

In the rest of this paper we make a brief assessment of the impact of this Industrialization policy to date.