Misery Index: Shame Of A Nation


The recently published Global Misery Index (GMI) report listing Nigeria as the sixth among the first 10 most miserable countries in the world is, to say the least, most regrettable.
The report, made public by an economist from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, United States, Steve Hanke, said Nigeria’s unemployment rate formed the major contributing factor to its miserable state, indicating a consistent year-in, year-out retrogression in the number of people employed over the last three decades.
Nigeria ranked behind Turkey, Brazil, Iran, Argentina and Venezuela which holds the inglorious title of the most miserable country in the world in 2018, as it did in 2017, 2016, and 2015. The misery index was calculated using economic indices, including unemployment, inflation and bank lending rates.
According to the report, the modified misery index is the sum of the unemployment, inflation and bank lending rates, minus the percentage change in real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita in the 2018 Misery Index rankings which surveyed well over 95 nations that report relevant data on a timely basis.
While The Tide acknowledges the fact that negative news such as this about Nigerian no longer come as a surprise to most Nigerians, we find it highly disturbing and shameful that a nation which prides itself as the giant of Africa and most populous Black nation in the world is still enmeshed in absolute poverty and misery despite its huge abundance of human and natural resources.
It is appalling that since its founding, Nigeria has been burdened with numerous economic crises with high unemployment, inflation and bank lending rates, most of which can be laid at the feet of domestic mismanagement, currency problems and insecurity. And there appears to be no end to the problem.
We believe that persistent misconception of sound economic policies consequent upon inability of government to tackle the continuous increase in the level of poverty in the rural areas have resulted in the drastic reduction of human development in the country over the last couple of years.
Also, government’s unwillingness to adopt appropriate income diversification strategies has negatively affected human capacity development despite human and natural resource endowments and relatively high per capita gross national income.
Recently, a Professor of Agricultural Economics at the Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida University, Lapai, in Niger State, Professor Eniola Oluwatoyin, while delivering an Inaugural Lecture on the topic, “Poverty in the Midst of Plenty – The Challenges of Farming Households in Nigeria”, equally identified over-growing population and adverse effects of climate change as having propensities to exacerbate poverty.
According to the university don, the fact that female-headed households were at more poverty level than male-headed households due to poor access to formal education and modern production procedures also remains another major contributor to the high poverty rate in the country.
We, therefore, urge governments at all levels, and other drivers of the nation’s economy to take urgent measures to evolve workable strategies that will create jobs and reduce the menace of poverty to the barest minimum among the citizenry.
Governments at all levels should, as a matter of urgency, put in place legislations, policies and programmes that will encourage manageable household sizes through family planning, proper education as well as good governance.
Deliberate steps should be adopted to ensure transparency and sincerity in the quest to reduce corruption, while efforts must be intensified to improve the farming system and development of farmers’ cooperative societies.
Nigeria must also overcome the battle with the daily challenges of food security, including farmers/herders clashes, and even distribution of limited resources for the development of the nation’s economy to salvage the country from the pangs of poverty and misery.