President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi reassured Egyptians in a speech on Friday that the coronavirus pandemic was progressing well and was already widespread enough that vaccine sales would bring in actual revenue to the state’s coffers.
Sisi praised the Egyptian government for its innovative strategy in dealing with the crisis by selling vaccines to its citizens, unlike larger economies that simply surrendered to the pandemic and its associated financial losses.
“We transformed these challenges and the challenges of procuring the vaccine into an opportunity to recoup economic losses,” he said. “We will sell the vaccine rather than give it away for free, which will help sustain the pandemic and lead to more vaccine revenue.”
“A smart nation uses all the resources at its disposal, whether money, minerals, harvests, land, people or viruses,” he added.
Sisi said selling the vaccine would accelerate Egypt’s drive towards self-sufficiency, allowing it to profit from the sale of syringes, alcohol swabs, and cotton pads, and said the authorities may decide to open vaccination clinics up to wandering salesmen who can sell masks, PPE and cigarettes to patients, driving economic growth.
The president said poorer Egyptians who do not have the money for the vaccine will unfortunately be offered the vaccine for free, but no one from the government can really guarantee what we will be putting in it.
Sisi said all government projects in recent years have lost money or not been sustainable, but the new virus variants emerging around the world will ensure the longevity of this economic venture.