US Bureau of Economic Analysis to Train Planning Board
SAN JUAN – Economists from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) will be visiting Puerto Rico’s Planning Board this week, in coordination with the Statistics Institute (PRSI), to train agency staff to ensure the island’s national economic accounts comply with global standards.
When making the announcement Sunday, Planning Board Chairman Luis García Pelatti and PRSI Executive Director Mario Marazzi-Santiago noted that the BEA’s economists will be offering workshops Monday through Friday to train economic and social planning program employees on national accounts methodology, which will contribute to their improvement and modernization.
The workshops are coordinated by the PRSI in accordance with Act 154 of 2015. The visit is part of the execution of resolutions adopted by the Planning Board and the PRSI’s board, which brought about the Roadmap for the Modernization of Puerto Rico’s National Accounting. It is a plan to restructure and modernize the methodology used for the island’s national accounts and ensure they comply with global standards, as well as to measure the informal economy and develop strategies to reduce it.
The visit gives continuity to recommendations made in 2011 by the BEA and President Obama’s Puerto Rico Task Force, as well as the economic restructuring plan laid out in the report by former International Monetary Fund Director Anne Krueger.
García Pelatti explained that several work sessions will be conducted to discuss the development of national accounts, the estimation methodology for compiling these, and the different options to update them technologically as well as communication strategies.
Currently, Puerto Rico’s national accounting statistics are presented in accordance with United Nations standards from 1968. “What we’re talking about is Puerto Rico uses a dictionary to describe our economy based on a nomenclature developed a long time ago, which no longer makes sense to measure the modern economy. We need to take on this problem head on, boldly, to improve and take Puerto Rico forward,” Marazzi-Santiago said.
Training will be offered by BEA economists William Ramos, director of Intergovernmental Affairs, U.S. Department of Commerce; Aya Hamano; Tom Howells; Erich Stassner; and Dave Wasshausen. The director of the Planning Board’s Economic and Social Planning Program, economist Luis Benítez, will also be participating.
The work agenda includes, among other things, introduction and adjustment to work on national accounts, balance of payments, updating price indexes, account dissemination strategies, overview of the accounts and integration of economic statistics.