President Nana Akufo-Addo has lauded the efforts of former President Jerry John Rawlings for the setup of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), whose work preceded oil find in the country.

“I pay tribute to the former President of the Republic, His Excellency Jerry John Rawlings, under whose far-sighted leadership the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) was established,” Mr Akufo-Addo said.

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President Akufo Addo says the victory secured by Ghana in the recently determined maritime dispute between Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire was a collaborative effort by past administrations and his government.

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President Akufo-Addo also praised former GNPC CEO, Tsatsu Tsikata, for his role in earlier exploration activities under the then National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration.

“The corporation under the strong leadership of Tsatsu Tsikata played a pioneering role in gathering, analysing and interpretation data for oil and gas exploration and began to attract other companies for exploration,” he continued.

Speaking at a ceremony held at the banquet hall of the Flag Staff House to honour all persons who one way or the other contributed to the successful resolution of the maritime dispute between Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire at the International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea (ITLOS), President Akufo Addo recalled all the contributions made by his predecessors under the 4th Republican Constitution of Ghana in the oil sector that has resulted in the ITLOS victory of 2017.

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The ceremony was attended by former President J.J. Rawlings and his wife, Nana K. Agyemang Rawlings, former government officials in the John Mahama administration who initiated the court process, officials of the current NPP government who argued the case at the ITLOS as well as some of the international lawyers who represented Ghana during the hearing.

*Commendation by the President*

The President expressed his personal gratitude and that of the entire nation to all the attendees who contributed to the ITLOS victory.

He hinted that at the appropriate time, national honours will be conferred on the team that worked to secure the victory for Ghana.

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*Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire relations*

President Akufo Addo on Ghana’s relationship with Côte d’Ivoire after the Judgement of the ITLOS said, contrary to the expectations of some persons that the outcome of the Maritime dispute was like to negatively affect the relationship of the two countries, the outcome has rather strengthened the bilateral corporation of the two West African countries which cumulated in the just ended two-day official state visit of the Ivorian leader, Alassane Ouattara to Ghana.

The state visit, the President says resulted in the formation of a joint committee tasked with the responsibility to ensure the peaceful implementation of the ITLOS judgement.