Venezuelans have been queuing up to buy cheap TV sets and washing machines after the government occupied a chain of stores forcing them to lower prices.
President Maduro said the Daka chain of electronic goods shops was selling some goods at prices beyond 1,000 percent of their cost.
The government accuses big business in Venezuela of deliberately hiking up prices in an “economic war” aimed at destabilising it.
“I’ve ordered the immediate occupation of this chain to offer its products to the people at fair prices, everything. Let nothing remain in stock. This is enough.” President Maduro said.
A washing machine was previously selling at more than 6,000 Euros in the Daka shops. The monthly minimum income of Venezuelan workers is around 370 Euros.
There was a mixed response to the government’s action.
One resident in the capital Caracas said:“In almost all of the stores, the companies are speculating on the prices. It is good that they are carrying out this measure, not only here but throughout the country.”
Another disagreed saying: “This is a political theatre, a political theatre. They are fooling Venezuelans. As the election approaches, they promise things they cannot deliver. I am a mother and one of the Venezuelans who is tired of this, of the lies of this government.”
Critics of the government say Venezuela’s steep inflation is because of economic mismanagement not a campaign by big business to topple it. The annual rate is now 54 percent, the highest since Chavez came to power in 1999.