Venezuela aims to end toilet paper shortage

Women queuing to pay for toilet paper at a supermarket in Caracas Toilet paper is snapped up as soon as it appears in Venezuelan shops

Related Stories

Venezuela's National Assembly has backed plans to import 39 million rolls of toilet paper, in an effort to relieve a chronic shortage.

Lawmakers voted to approve a $79m credit for the country's ministry of commerce, which will also be used to buy toothpaste and soap.

The products are currently in short supply in Venezuelan shops.

The oil-rich nation relies on imports, but currency controls have restricted its ability to pay for foreign goods.

President Nicolas Maduro, who won a narrow majority in April's presidential elections, maintains that the country's periodic shortages of basic goods are the result of a conspiracy by the opposition and rich sectors of society.

Mr Maduro has vowed to uphold the legacy of his late predecessor, Hugo Chavez, whose "21st-Century socialism" involved sweeping nationalisation and extensive social programmes.

But analysts say that the government's attempts to impose state control on the economy have created huge imbalances that have led to the shortages.

"Price controls, for example, act as a disincentive to local producers, forcing them to cut output," says the survey organisation Consensus Economics.

"The resulting scarcity forces up inflation, defeating the entire purpose of price controls in the first place."

Venezuela's inflation is the highest in Latin America and is currently running at about 25%.

The currency, the bolivar, has been devalued repeatedly in recent years, most recently by 32% in February.

More on This Story

Related Stories

More Business stories

RSS

Features

  • SyedTanks not toys

    Lyse Doucet on the plight of children in Syria and Gaza


  • Boy with head stuck in railingsSmall Data

    Heads stuck in banisters - the official statistics


  • The two sisters in their bakeryBaking hot

    Why two Spanish sisters started a bakery in the desert


  • A farmer walks in front of a construction site of new residential buildings in Hangzhou, ChinaPrice drop

    Sharp falls in China's property market


  • Steve WayMarathon man

    From cigarettes and alcohol to coming 10th in Games BBC Sport


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.