A Venezuelan government agency has ordered the 'temporary' seizure of a paper mill that produces toilet paper in the state of Aragua in what it claims is an attempt to relieve ongoing shortages of consumer goods.
In a tweet on Thursday, Venezuela's Vice President, Jorge Arreaza, said authorities would 'not permit hoarding of essential commodities, or any faults in the production and distribution process'
'The action taken at the producer of toilet paper, sanitary napkins and disposable diapers corresponds to the obligation of the state to guarantee the normal supply of primary necessities,' price regulator Sundecop said in a statement.
President Maduro has cut dollar supplies for importers since winning election in April, creating shortages of goods including toilet paper and butter and stoking one of the world’s highest inflation rates.
Critics say the nagging shortages of products ranging from bathroom tissue to milk are a sign his socialist government's rigid price and currency controls are failing.
Annual inflation accelerated to 45.4 percent last month from 42.6 percent in July, while the scarcity index measuring the amount of goods out of stock on store shelves reached 20 percent, the central bank said.
The country devalued the official exchange rate to 6.3 bolivars per dollar from 4.3 bolivars in February.
President Nicolas Maduro and government agencies also reportedly ordered Venezuelan troops to 'safeguard' the factory during the 'temporary' takeover. Maduro was the hand-picked successor for socialist president Hugo Chavez, who passed away from cancer earlier this year.
In keeping with Chavez's 'Bolivar Revolution' theme, the government had to import more than 50 million rolls of toilet paper earlier this year to counter an ongoing shortage that was reportedly triggered by the socialist government's price controls. The controls have also led to similar shortages of basic consumer goods such as diapers, coffee, milk and butter.