A portion of the $50 million National Export Booster Initiative will assist 40 Tobago-based businesses in the manufacturing sector. This is according to Trade and Industry Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon.

Speaking yesterday at a news conference in Tobago the Trade Minister said Government began the export drive nationally, as the sector makes major contributions to this country’s Gross Domestic Product, is a net foreign exchange earner, and employs 52,000 persons.

She said the initiative is aimed at “doubling...manufacturing exports by 2025.”

Speaking at the launch of the Tobago arm of the program, the minister said the initiative’s specific component-Tobago Capacity Building Program to Develop New Exporters, will help the island’s businesses. She said it would assist them in logistics, financing, marketing, product development, and testing.

It will also provide one-on-one consultancy services to bridge existing gaps as Tobago manufacturers transition into the export market, the minister said.

She also said Tobago businesses are doing well under the existing memorandum between the Tobago House of Assembly Business Development and Strategic Business Units and exporTT.

“A clear example of the possibility of converting Tobago Companies into exporters is seen through our most recent recipient under the Grant Fund Facility, J Mac Industries. This company, working closely with exportTT has managed to experience an increase in revenue, production capacity, and competitiveness.”

The minister also said the company has broken into the Caricom market. She said other companies in the fashion and beverage sector are doing brisk export business.

Finance and the Economy Secretary Joel Jack, who also spoke at the launch, said the launch is ‘important’ and ‘timely’ as COVID- 19 dealt a blow to economies worldwide. He said the blow came at a time of dwindling income from this country’s energy sector.

Jack said the initiative would help the island’s private sector. He added that the THA continues to play its role to develop that sector through the Venture Capital Equity Fund Ltd, Business Development Unit, and Cove Eco-Industrial Estate and Business Park.