Buhari unveiled the redesigned currency in November last year with the aim of reining in counterfeiting and the hoarding of large sums of money outside the banking system.
That shortage has led to frayed tempers and hardship, particularly those who work in the cash-based informal economy and for citizens who live in rural areas. Protests are spreading across the country and bank branches have been damaged.
In a televised broadcast Thursday, Buhari expressed sympathy for Nigerians experiencing hardship and announced that the old 200- naira note will return to circulation for 60 days. The higher denomination notes remain canceled but can be exchanged at the central bank and other designated points, he said.
He also assured Nigerians that the supply of cash would improve in the coming days. Buhari said he has directed the central bank to “ensure that new notes become more available and accessible to our citizens through the banks.”
In his address Thursday, Buhari disclosed that around 80% of those funds has been returned to the banks since the unveiling of the new banknotes in November.
“I have been reliably informed that since the commencement of this program, about 2.1 trillion naira ($4.5 billion) out of the banknotes previously held outside the banking system, had been successfully retrieved,” he said.