Venezuela seizes toilet paper factory to combat shortages


Two festival-goers pass a roll of toilet paper between toilet cubicles, during the 2004 Glastonbury Festival at Worthy Farm, Pilton, Somerset, England. June 25, 2004.


Matt Cardy

Venezuela's government has temporarily taken over a toilet paper factory in order to avoid a nationwide shortage.

The National Guard has taken control of the Manufacturas de Papel plant, and authorities will now oversee and monitor its production.

The move comes as the nation struggles with a shortage of paper goods. The Manpa factory in the northern state of Aragua also makes diapers and feminine sanitary napkins.

Vice President Jorge Arreaza announced the seizure on Friday over social media. He said the decision was made by an economic panel sworn in last week by President Nicolas Maduro.

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The government has blamed unethical merchants for hoarding products in order to make quick profits, Reuters reported.

Earlier this year, Caracas ordered millions of rolls of toilet paper be imported into the country after an embarassing shortage.

Previously, the government has taken over meat processing companies and dairy farms in an effort to help set low prices for basic household items.

Sundecop, the agency that enforces state price controls said in a statement the Manpa takeover would last 15 days and that the National Guard was there as a "safeguard."

Trade Minister Alexander Fleming said occupying the factory was legal under Venezuelan law.