Tissue paper mill in Aragua, Venezuela, temporarily taken over by Venezuelan government as it reviews 'production, marketing and distribution' of toilet paper to try to solve shortage; Venezuela's VP claims action was needed to help defeat 'economic war'

LOS ANGELES , September 24, 2013 () – The Venezuelan government has temporarily taken over a tissue paper mill in the state of Aragua in an effort at solving the country’s shortage of toilet paper, reported CNN.com on Sept. 21.

The Paper Manufacturing Co. was seized so that the government can review the “production, marketing and distribution” of toilet paper, said Venezuelan Vice President Jorge Arreaza.

Venezuela is suffering from a toilet paper shortage that began earlier this year and was made worse when people started stocking up. In May, the government announced it would import 50 million rolls of toilet paper.

Officials of the country have accused private companies of stockpiling toilet paper in order to drive up the price, and even suggested that it’s part of a broader conspiracy, CNN.com reported.

Arreaza said that hoarding, as well as failing to produce and distribute essential products, are not allowed by the People’s Defense from the Economy, a government agency created Sept. 13 to “defeat the economic war.”

Toilet paper is considered a basic necessity by the state-run ATV, which is charged with looking at and investigating inefficiencies across industries, supposedly in the country’s best interests, reported CNN.com.

Government policies--such as price controls and tight restrictions on foreign currency--that make it difficult for producers to break even, are responsible for the shortages, say business leaders and political opponents.

The public’s fears and subsequent stockpiling of toilet paper and other products have been fanned by media attention to the shortages. Long lines form when toilet paper becomes available, CNN.com reported.

The primary source of this article is CNN.com, Atlanta, Georgia, on Sept. 21, 2013.

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