CARACAS, Venezuela, March 8 (UPI) -- Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced that the government will install 20,000 fingerprint scanners at grocery stores throughout the country.
Maduro said that this would be the "first phase" of incorporating the fingerprint scanners into the national food sales system.
"We are going to install 20,000 fingerprint readers throughout the entire socialist system in order to guarantee the people access to foodstuffs," President Maduro said.
The fingerprint scanners are designed to prevent people from buying more subsidized goods than they are allowed in an effort to combat smuggling, according to the Venezuelan government.
The government held a private meeting with seven grocery store chains, which agreed to incorporate the fingerprint scanners "voluntarily," according to Maduro.
He made the announcement during the inauguration of a 75,000 square foot, government-owned supermarket.
Food shortages have become common in Venezuela, where the inflation rate is the highest in South America.
Venezuela is one of the economies affected the most by low crude oil prices, according to the International Monetary Fund.
"One country that stands out is Venezuela, which had been experiencing severe economic imbalances before oil prices began to fall and now finds itself in an even more precarious position," a note published by the IMF said.
"Nooooo! This is not the queue for a concert, it's the line to buy food in Venezuela," another tweet reads.
Nooooo! No es la cola para un concierto, es la cola para comprar comida en Venezuela. pic.twitter.com/Fq92iLbBsM— Pienso1ro (@Pienso1ro) March 6, 2015