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21/09/2013 11:48 BST

Venezuela Up The Creek As Government Takes Over Toilet Paper Factory

A customer leaves a private super market with her purchases, including toilet paper, in Caracas, Venezuela
AP
A customer leaves a private super market with her purchases, including toilet paper, in Caracas, Venezuela

The Venezuelan government has taken over a toilet paper factory in a desperate attempt to wipe out a rather pressing issue.

As it runs out of the most basic of necessities – toilet paper – The National Guard has taken control of the plant, and officers will monitor production and distribution to avoid any scarcity of the product.

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

Venezuelans have scrambled to stock up on toilet paper as fears of what could be a messy bathroom emergency spread.

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

After years of economic dysfunction, the country has gotten used to shortages of medicines and basic food items like milk and sugar but the scarcity of bathroom tissue has, quite understandably, caused considerable alarm.

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

A national agency called Sundecop, which enforces price controls, said in a statement it would occupy one of the factories belonging to paper producer Manpa for 15 days, adding that National Guard troops would "safeguard" the facility, Reuters 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.