In a tweet, Mr Rawlings said that "He [Mr J.H. Mensah] left an indelible mark on Ghana's politics," adding: "May his soul rest in peace."
Mr Rawlings also expressed his "sincere condolences" to the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the family of the late J.H. Mensah "for their loss".
Mr Mensah died in the early hours of Thursday, 12 July 2018. He was 89 years.
He was a politician and an economist.
Mr Mensah began working as an assistant inspector of taxes in 1953 while the Gold Coast was still under colonial rule.
In 1958, Mr Mensah joined the United Nations Secretariat at the Centre for Development Planning, Projections and Policies, in New York City, United States.
He returned to Ghana in 1961 as the Head of Agency at the National Planning Commission which drew and implemented the country's Seven-Year Development Plan (1962–1969).
In 1969, he was elected to parliament and became the Finance Minister until 1972, when he was replaced by the future head of state Ignatius Kutu Acheampong after the military coup.
In 2005, he was appointed Senior Minister by President J.A Kufuor.