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Puerto Rico Statistics Institute betting on new growth strategy

By on September 4, 2019


Seeks contracts for revenue; to assist agencies improve analysis   

SAN JUAN — The vision of the Puerto Rico Statistics Institute’s governing board is taking shape with its new strategic plan that focuses on administrative changes; stronger ties with the executive branch, especially its agencies; and pursuing private and federal funding, said institute Chairman Arnaldo Cruz Sanabria, who also announced that the search for an executive director had begun.

Cruz also explained that the plan, which was prepared by consulting firm Linterna, does not necessarily apply to the entire institute, instead, it will apply to specific key areas.

“We made the decision to make sure the strategic plan was not a plan for the entire institute, but the institute has recurring services and products that must continue [to be offered], but we wanted to identify some opportunity areas,” Cruz said and explained that the goal was to identify “strategic areas that will help move the institute [forward] from the startup [phase] and those are the focus areas that were determined in the plan the institute will be working on for the next three years.”

During the presentation, Cruz and interim Executive Director Orville Disdier said the institute had administrative deficiencies. The chairman indicated that the analysis prepared for the strategic plan revealed that the administrative development of the institute, which was founded in 2008, was at the startup level, adding that after the five-year mark, the institute should have honed in on a long-term strategy and direction.

However, when questioned how underdeveloped the more-than-a-decade-old institute could be, the interim executive director, who is looking to stay permanently, said the main administrative problems of the institute stem from an insufficient budget. For this fiscal year, the government assigned $1.7 million for the entity.

It is worth pointing out that Mario Marazzi, the institute’s previous executive director, continuously took issue with the lack of funding and with the disconnect between the funding and the expectations for the institute.

Funding is also one of the areas in the strategic plan, but the current goal, Cruz explained, is to diversify its revenue sources.

“The institute has limited resources. We would love to have more money from the government of Puerto Rico, in millions, or that the fiscal oversight board comes and gives $100 million to the institute, but that is not realistic. We need to operate under [our] reality,” the chairman said. “Therefore, we need to look for a way to increase the external resources the institute has access to, to make sure the institute has more financing and more opportunities of doing more through federal proposals and through proposals with the private sector.”

The other part of the strategic plan includes a Coordinating Statistics Committee, which will serve as not only a point of contact with other government dependencies, but also to help and train the statistics teams at the various agencies to improve their work results.

Cruz explained that the institute’s current model was not conducive to producing all the government statistics needed but “we also cannot have a situation in which the institute improves is tools and statistics yet the government agencies lag behind.”

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