Following a December visit to the distribution centre in the Venezuelan capital’s BoleĆ­ta Norte district by the country’s Industries Minister, Masisa Venezuela was fined 5,000 tax units (TU) for raising some product prices by more than 2,500%.

Masisa is among a number of private firms in the hardware, furniture and wood products sectors which have been fined in a government ‘fair prices’ offensive.

The ‘People’s Minister for Industries’ Ricardo Menendez is reported to have said officials from the ‘Institute for the Defence of People’s Access to Goods and Services’ and Sundecop, the state body overseeing costs and prices, will stay at the firm to "build a cost structure and define fair prices for the Venezuelan people".

"There is no reason these prices have gone up eight times this year," Menendez commented after recalling that the Placacentro, when asked the reason, had blamed the rises on a system error.

Government officials will also monitor Masisa’s panel plant at Macapaima in eastern Venezuela to check the supply and distribution of construction materials to allied companies, he said.