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Venezuela aims to end toilet paper shortage31st of May 2013
Venezuela's National Assembly has backed plans to import 39 million rolls of toilet paper into the country to relieve a chronic shortage.
Everyday products have been in short supply in the oil-rich nation since 2003. President Nicolás Maduro blames the shortages on sabotage attempts by his political enemies and accuses businesses of hoarding products.
He says their aim is to force the government to lift price controls that have been put in place to make goods affordable for the poor. Meanwhile the corporate sector insists that the shortages result from ill-managed state-run companies producing goods at less than half their capacity.
The government has now voted to approve a 61 million Euro investment in providing 39 million rolls of toilet paper from overseas along with toothpaste and soap, which are also in short supply.
Venezuela's inflation is running at about 25 per cent and is currently the highest in Latin America. The bolivar has been devalued repeatedly in recent years, most recently by 32 per cent in February.
Venezuela, said to have the largest proven oil reserves in the world, is also running out of other household products including milk, sugar, cooking oil and cornflour. And even the nation's Catholic Church claims to be running out of wine with which to celebrate Mass.