The manufacturing sector is targeting to improve capacity utilisation by over 15 percent this year spurred by a strong performance in exports.

The local industry, which has been faced by a number of challenges including the absence of critical lines of financing and shortage of foreign currency, has failed to go beyond the 50 percent mark on capacity utilisation.

From industries in Harare to the second largest city, Bulawayo, the state of the industry paints a picture of a sector that is in dire need of support to restore it to its former glory.

An industrialist, Mr Callisto Jokonya said part of the challenges that have weighed down the sector include local products being less competitive compared to other regional products.

Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) Vice President, Mr Henry Ruzvidzo said while industry is already engaged in addressing this challenge under the rapid results initiative, there are also areas that have to be looked into to support the competitiveness of the local sector.

Despite the sector being projected to register a modest growth rate of 0.1 percent this year, industry leaders remain optimistic that the performance will improve going forward  on the back of  the rapid results initiative which is now above a third through the process  since it started last month.