Nigeria’s leading opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has tasked President Muhammadu Buhari to take urgent steps to fine-tune the country’s ailing economy with the goal of creating massive jobs for the unemployed youths.
The charge came following the Hanke’s Annual Misery Index 2018 report which listed Nigeria, Venezuela, Iran, Brazil and others among the top 10 miserable countries in the world with Nigeria occupying the sixth position.
PDP Spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, says his party wants the Buhari administration of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to shun the thought of a rise in Value Added Tax (VAT), claiming that such an increase will further make life more difficult for the ‘’already traumatised Nigerians.’’
According to the PDP, ‘’Nigeria’s economy has virtually collapsed under President Buhari and the man is even mooting the idea of piling more pressure on Nigerians. Nigerians have never suffered like they are suffering today because those charged with the responsibility of managing the economy have failed completely. They have no idea of what it takes to manage an economy like ours.’’
Hanke is a professor of Applied Economics and Co-Director of the Institute for Applied Economics, Global Health, and the Study of Business Enterprise at The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, USA.
He is a Senior Fellow and Director of the Troubled Currencies Project at the Cato Institute in Washington, D.C., a Senior Advisor at the Renmin University of China’s International Monetary Research Institute in Beijing, a Special Counselor to the Center for Financial Stability in New York, a contributing editor at Central Banking in London, and a contributor at Forbes.
Prof. Hanke is also a member of the Charter Council of the Society of Economic Measurement and of Euromoney Country Risk’s Experts Panel. In the past, he taught economics at the Colorado School of Mines and at the University of California, Berkeley. He served as a Member of the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisers in Maryland in 1976-77, as a Senior Economist on President Reagan’s Council of Economic Advisers in 1981-82, and as a Senior Advisor to the Joint Economic Committee of the U.S. Congress in 1984-88. Prof. Hanke served as a State Counselor to both the Republic of Lithuania in 1994-96 and the Republic of Montenegro in 1999-2003.
He was also an Advisor to the Presidents of Bulgaria in 1997-2002, Venezuela in 1995-96, and Indonesia in 1998. He played an important role in establishing new currency regimes in Argentina, Estonia, Bulgaria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Ecuador, Lithuania, and Montenegro. Prof. Hanke has also held senior appointments in the governments of many other countries, including Albania, Kazakhstan, the United Arab Emirates, and Yugoslavia.
According to Forbes, in the sphere of economics, misery tends to flow from high inflation, steep borrowing costs and unemployment. The most surefire way to mitigate that misery is economic growth. All else equal, happiness tends to blossom when growth is strong, inflation and interest rates are low, and jobs are plentiful.
Many countries measure and report these economic metrics on a regular basis. Comparing them, nation by nation, can tell us a lot about where in the world people are sad or happy.
Would you consider, for instance, Thailand to be more or less miserable than other countries? To answer this question, he updated his annual Misery Index measurements.
The first Misery Index was constructed by economist Art Okun in the 1960s as a way to provide President Lyndon Johnson with an easily digestible snapshot of the economy. That original Misery Index was just a simple sum of a nation’s annual inflation rate and its unemployment rate. The Index has been modified several times, first by Robert Barro of Harvard and then by myself.
Hanke’s modified Misery Index is the sum of the unemployment, inflation and bank lending rates, minus the percentage change in real GDP per capita. Higher readings on the first three elements are ‘’bad’’ and make people more miserable. These are offset by a ‘’good’’ (GDP per capita growth), which is subtracted from the sum of the ‘’bads.’’
A higher Misery Index score reflects a higher level of ‘’misery’’, and it’s a simple enough metric that a busy president, without time for extensive economic briefings, can understand at a glance.
The latest report contains Misery Index rankings for the 95 nations that report relevant data on a timely basis. For consistency and comparability, and with few exceptions, data were retrieved from the Economist Intelligence Unit.
According to the latest report, Venezuela was listed as the most miserable country in the world, saying: ‘’Venezuela holds the inglorious title of the most miserable country in the world in 2018, as it did in 2017, 2016, and 2015.’’
Iran took third in the ranking while Brazil made it to the fourth position. Turkey took fifth position as the giant of Africa, Nigeria, emerged sixth.
For Nigeria under Buhari’s administration, unemployment rate was the major contributing factor to her miserable state.
Adding, the report said, ‘’the first Misery Index was constructed by an economist, Art Okun, in the 1960s as a way to provide President Lyndon Johnson of US with an easily digestible snapshot of the economy. That original Misery Index was just a simple sum of a nation’s annual inflation rate and its unemployment rate.
‘’’The index has been modified several times, first by Robert Barro of Harvard University and then by myself. My modified Misery Index is the sum of the unemployment, inflation and bank lending rates, minus the percentage change in real GDP per capita.’’