Latin America & Caribbean

Venezuela seizes toilet paper factory to avoid shortage

People wait in line as they buy toilet paper in a supermarket in Caracas 17 May, 2013.
Image caption A nationwide toilet paper shortage in May led to panic-buying in the Venezuelan capital, Caracas

The Venezuelan government has taken over a toilet paper factory to avoid any scarcity of the product.

The National Guard has taken control of the plant, and officers will monitor production and distribution.

Earlier this year officials ordered millions of toilet rolls to be imported to counter a chronic shortage.

Last week President Nicolas Maduro created a special committee to tackle the problem, which the government blames on unscrupulous traders.

The government ordered the temporary occupation of the Manpa plant in the northern state of Aragua, state-run Radio AVN reported.

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 Minister of Trade, Alexander Fleming, said the factory occupation complied with Venezuelan law.

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