Venezuela to 'saturate the market' with 50 million rolls of imported toilet paper
May 16, 2013 -- Updated 0121 GMT (0921 HKT)
Venezuela's monthly demand for toilet paper is about 125 million rolls a month.
- Venezuela is facing a shortage of a number of basic goods
- The government announced it will import 50 million rolls of toilet paper
- Officials blame private companies and the media for the shortage
- The opposition says the government's own economic policies are failing
(CNN) -- To avoid getting caught with their pants down, Venezuelan officials say they will confront a toilet paper shortage by importing 50 million rolls to meet demand.
Toilet paper is just one of the basic goods and foodstuffs that have been disappearing from store shelves over the past few months, as the government and private companies blame each other for the scarcity.
Venezuelan Minister of Commerce Alejandro Fleming announced the toilet paper measure on Tuesday, the state-run AVN news agency reported.
Repeating the government's stance, he blamed the media for provoking fear in consumers, who in turn begin hoarding items.
"There is no deficiency in production, but an excessive demand generating purchases by a nervous population because of a media campaign that has been created to undermine the country," Fleming said. "We are going to saturate the market so that our people will calm down and understand that they should not let themselves be manipulated by the media that says there are shortages."
But Venezuelans say the shortages are very real, as staples such as rice and cooking oil are scarce.
The lack of toilet paper is apparent in Caracas, where shoppers hurry to buy rolls and make long lines when the bathroom tissues are in stock.
Venezuela's monthly demand for toilet paper is about 125 million rolls a month, Fleming said.
The government also casts blame on private companies, who they accuse of hoarding their products in hopes of selling it later at a higher price.
But businesses and the political opposition say government policies, including price controls on basic goods and tight restrictions on foreign currency, are to blame. The regulation discourage production, and many producers can't break even with the price controls, they say.
Other hygiene products, such as tooth paste and soap, might also be imported in bulk to meet demand, Fleming said.
CNN's Rafael Romo contributed to this report.
Today's five most popular stories
Part of complete coverage on
December 24, 2014 -- Updated 0254 GMT (1054 HKT)
A decade on from devastating 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the Red Cross' Matthias Schmale says that the lessons learned have made us safer.
December 24, 2014 -- Updated 0024 GMT (0824 HKT)
As soon as word broke that "The Interview" will hit some theaters, celebrations erupted across social media -- including from the stars of the film.
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 1844 GMT (0244 HKT)
Did a rogue hacker -- or the U.S. government -- cut the cord for the regime's Internet?
December 24, 2014 -- Updated 0106 GMT (0906 HKT)
Monaco's newborn royals, Princess Gabriella and Crown Prince Jacques Honore Rainier, posed for their first official photos with their parents.
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 1706 GMT (0106 HKT)
What's next for the Internet? Acclaimed scientist Sir Tim Berners-Lee shares his insights.
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 0822 GMT (1622 HKT)
The United States and North Korea have long been locked in a bitter cycle of escalating and deescalating tensions. But the current cyber conflict may be especially hard to predict.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 2100 GMT (0500 HKT)
A chilling video shows Boko Haram executing dozens of non-Muslims.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 1134 GMT (1934 HKT)
New planes, new flight tests ... but will we get cheaper airfares?
December 21, 2014 -- Updated 1746 GMT (0146 HKT)
The killing of two cops could not have happened at a worse time for a city embroiled in a public battle over police-community relations, Errol Louis says.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 0251 GMT (1051 HKT)
The gateway to Japan's capital, Tokyo Station, is celebrating its centennial this month -- and it has never looked better.
December 20, 2014 -- Updated 1621 GMT (0021 HKT)
Unicef has warned that more than 1.7 million children in conflict-torn areas of eastern Ukraine face an "extremely serious" situation.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 1701 GMT (0101 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.