Nigeria’s Misery Index Ranking Deteriorates

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Nigerians were worse off last year than they were in 2020, with the country ranked as the 11th most miserable country in the world for 2021.

Hanke’s latest annual poverty index, which analyzed 156 countries, showed Nigeria slipped from 15th place the previous year. The index modified by Steve Hanke, a popular professor of applied economics at Johns Hopkins University, also shows that the ranking places Africa’s largest economy as the fourth most impoverished country on the continent.

According to Hanke, his version of the misery index is the sum of the rates of unemployment, inflation and bank credit at the end of the year, minus the annual percentage change in real GDP per capita.

“Higher readings on the first three items are ‘bad’ and make people more unhappy,” he said.

Analysts said they were not surprised as the country’s high inflation and unemployment rate, which are among the highest in the world, reflected the high level of misery in the country.

Also Read: Nigerians’ misery rises as living standards fall

“The ranking is perfect in terms of Nigeria being one of the most miserable countries to live in, largely due to inflation, which has gotten worse over the past year, and also unemployment which is worse. Although after COVID-19 we have seen temporary relief, it is still high and the rate of recovery compared to the rest of the world is slow,” said Ayorinde Akinloye, Investment and Research Analyst at United Capital Plc.

Akinloye added that external factors such as insecurity showed the claim was not far-fetched.

According to National Bureau of Statisticsthe country’s inflation, which measures the rate of increase in commodity prices, was 15.7% in February 2022, while unemployment was at an all-time high of 33.3% in the fourth quarter of 2020.

“People’s situation is getting worse, with high inflation and worsening poverty level caused by bad macro environment,” said Moses Ojo, an economic analyst based in Lagos.

Besides the Hanke Index, a recent 2022 World Happiness Report showed that Nigeria had the worst performance since 2012 ranking 118th out of 150 countries.

In a recent report, the world Bank noted that the country’s runaway inflation rate had pushed more people into poverty.

According to the bank, before inflation started to rise steadily, there were 82.9 million poor Nigerians, but that number rose to 90.1 million in 2021 and is expected to rise to 95.1 million in 2022.

“With negative real GDP per capita growth across all sectors in 2020, poverty is projected to have worsened for the current poor, while households that were just above the pre-crisis poverty line are likely to fall into poverty,” the Washington-based bank said.

According to the index, Cuba holds the inglorious title of most miserable country of 2021, followed by Venezuela, Sudan, Lebanon and Zimbabwe, while the least miserable countries are Libya, Malta, Ireland, UK and Singapore.

“It’s critical that policymakers have a reading of their constituents’ well-being, seen through the lens of economic statistics,” Hanke said.

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