Rural district councils which entered into a strategic partnership with Hwange Colliery Company as coal merchants have begun enjoying the fruits of the deal with Zvimba local authority having purchased road making equipment from the profits accrued.
Under the partnership which began last year, selected rural district councils became coal merchants selling the coal to farmers in their respective areas on behalf of Hwange Colliery.
The programme, which is now in its second year, has seen some rural district councils improving their revenue bases with Zvimba Rural District Council topping the list as it has acquired its first motorised grader from China using revenue generated from the deal.
The councilâ€™s Accountant, Mr Tichaona Zironzo confirmed that indeed the fortunes of the local authority have been transformed by this project.
â€œAs a local authority, we have benefitted as our revenue base was literally dry. We have managed to buy a grader from the proceeds of the project and this has actually helped in preserving the environment,â€ said Mr Zironzo.
Makoni Rural District Council Engineer, Edmore Chidembo said the local authority is not a profit making organisation but under the project, they have managed to accrue revenue which is now being ploughed back into the community through infrastructure development programmes.
â€œIf we post a profit of over US$30 000, it is a lot because we are only supposed to provide a service and not make any profits. So this programme is good,â€ he said.
The joint venture, which was mooted in 2009, is meant to empower rural district councils as well as help in the conservation of trees as many rural communities turn to the use of coal as an alternative source of energy.Â
Government has over the years called on local authorities to be innovative and find other ways of making money rather than burdening ratepayers.