ISLAMABAD (APP) - Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) on Friday urged the government to explore new avenues for broadening tax base instead of putting more pressure on the existing taxpayers. In a statement here it opposed the two percent hike in Federal Excise Duty (FED) as proposed by Federal Board of Revenue. President ICCI Zahid Maqbool said that business community fully realizes the fact that government needs more financial resources to steer the country out of poverty quagmire as well as to bring economic stability and prosperity in the country. However, it doesnt mean that to narrow down fiscal deficit, government should spend all its energies on exploiting the existing tax bases. Rather it should take measures to expand the tax base as there are opportunities to broaden the tax net by eliminating tax exemptions. He said that agriculture accounts for 22 per cent to GDP but contributes just 1 percent to tax revenue while this sector has the potential to generate sufficient chunk of tax revenue. The government measures like increasing 18 percent power tariff, 26 percent gas and 2 percent FED will push businessmen to the wall by exorbitantly increasing the cost of doing business, he added. Zahid Maqbool said these are not ideal conditions to go on a spree of hiking tariffs and taxes when the country is facing many macro economic challenges. He urged the government to create more conducive environment for business as smooth expansion of businesses will entail better tax collections and revenue for the government. He asked the government to urgently implement austerity measures and cut all unnecessary and non-developmental expenditures to improve fiscal management and revenue utilization.